Originally Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2013, 6:07 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 29, 2013, 11:33 pm

EICC gets $2.5 million grant for manufacturing training

Comment on this story

by Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

DAVENPORT -- Eastern Iowa Community College announced Tuesday that it has received a $2.5 million federal grant it will use to train students in manufacturing.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Labor and will be used to create the engineering technology program, which will include certificate options as well as the option to pursue an associate degree, EICC officials said. The program, which will kick off in the spring, is designed to train workers who will work closely with engineers in manufacturing fields.

The creation of the program included input from companies, such as Deere & Co. and Alcoa, that would benefit from the resulting graduates, officials said.

"They (companies) tell us all the time we have to help them fill the skills gap they have," Eastern Iowa Chancellor Don Doucette said.

Iowa is expected to need about 6,700 skilled workers in advanced manufacturing fields by 2018 because of retirements and increases in demand, EICC said.

People trained within the program will be able to help engineers set up and operate product lines, Wayne Merrell, EICC Department of Labor projects director, said.

For example, a company that needs to produce a specific part will have an engineer plan the assembly line that will produce it, Mr. Merrell said. Graduates of EICC's new program will help them order the needed machinery, set up the line and manage it once it is in operation.

The idea is much the same as that of nurse practitioners and teaching assistants who help doctors and college professors, he said.

The program will include a combination of classroom and online instruction, officials said. Students can choose to pursue specific certificates within the program or an associate degree -- the engineering technology associate of applied science. All of the certificates in the program support the associate degree.

There will be three potential paths of study: automation, electromechanical and process control, an EICC news release said. There also will be calculus courses available for students wishing to pursue a four-year degree.

"This will be one of our signature programs," Mr. Doucette said.

The program will be available at all of the EICC campuses and will be organized around eight-week modules, which will allow students to start at different times of the year, the release said.

Mr. Merrell said the grant will end in 2016 and will be used to set the program up, and from there, EICC is expecting to fund the program on its own.




For More Information

Anyone wishing more information about the program can contact EICC at 888-336-3907.

There also will be informational sessions about the program from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 6 at all three of the EICC campuses.

For Scott County, the session will be at the John Blong Technology Center, 8500 Hillandale Road, Davenport.