South Puget Sound Community College received a $200,000 grant over a three-year period from the National Science Foundation for its Computerized Manufacturing Technology (CMT) program. The grant, announced May 23, will allow the program to achieve National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accreditation.
“These funds from the National Science Foundation will allow us to provide technically advance equipment and support for our Computerized Manufacturing Technology program at a critical time,” College President Timothy Stokes said. “As regional employers increase hiring in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors we will be able to offer students the opportunity to learn on state-of-the-industry equipment.”
The college’s Computerized Manufacturing Technology program helps students learn the basics of machining, from machine operation and troubleshooting, to manufacturing, and offers both an Associate in Applied Science degree and a Computer Numerical Control Technician certificate. The program plays a role in advancing the Governor’s Investment in Aerospace, a major statewide public and private partnership to train at least 500 aerospace workers and assist 650 aerospace companies.
NIMS accreditation will help the program stay in line with industry standards; pays for equipment and software updates aligning instruction with industry demands; provides funds for professional development of faculty to ensure NIMS accreditation and a high-quality program; and creates a flexible entry-and-exit system through a fully-integrated CMT pathway for students with different educational and experiential backgrounds to achieve national certification in CMT-related areas.
Several area industry and economic development partners provided letters of commitment in support of the college’s application including: Boeing Company’s Workforce Management and Training Integration; Thurston Economic Development Council; North Thurston Public Schools; New Market Skills Center; National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education; H2O Jet, Inc.; Advance Equipment Company; Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council; and the Center for Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing.