Towards a Renaissance of Manufacturing Education in North Carolina Are We Ready?

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1 Towards a Renaissance of Manufacturing Education in North Carolina Are We Ready? Submitted to the North Carolina Community College System by Key Links Inc. February 2011

2 Table of Contents Page Executive Summary... 2 Why a Renaissance of Manufacturing Education?... 4 Purpose of Report... 5 Context: NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System... 6 Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (Super CIP)... 7 SuccessNC... 8 Research Questions, Data Sources and Methodology... 9 Findings: Community College Manufacturing-Related Programs Utilization of Industry-Based Manufacturing Certifications Secondary Manufacturing Program Linkages University Manufacturing Program Articulations Public- and Private-Sector Manufacturing Partnerships Analysis and Recommendations Conclusion Appendix A: Data Sources Appendix B: Distribution of Manufacturing Programs (AAS, Diploma, Certificate) Appendix C: Approved/Active Manufacturing AAS Degrees Appendix D: Secondary Program Model Assets Appendix E: Manufacturing-Related Secondary Career Tech Program Appendix F: Curriculum Enhancement and Career Awareness Assets Appendix G: Community College/Four-Year Articulation Summary Appendix H: Manufacturing Association and Organization Assets Appendix I: Education Transformational Assets

3 Towards a Renaissance of Manufacturing Education in North Carolina: EECUTIVE SUMMARY Background: To promote innovation and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, manufacturing education must undergo a transformation. Building education and training systems for the next generation of manufacturers requires: (1) skillfully integrated academic and technical learning paths; (2) a heightened focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills; (3) more on and off ramps to higher education and lifelong learning systems; and (4) the integration of nationally portable, industryrecognized credentials with educational pathways, leading to postsecondary credentials with real value in the workplace to both employers and workers. Purpose: The purpose of this report is to map the assets available in North Carolina to support such a transformation. It assesses the readiness of North Carolina Community colleges to lead the charge for a renaissance in manufacturing education. Data on all 58 community colleges was available from various state sources. In addition, 43 colleges (74%) also responded to the online survey, which was the primary source for data and information on certifications. Key findings were organized around the five research questions. #1: What manufacturing-related programs of study currently exist at North Carolina community colleges? #2: What manufacturing-related, industry-recognized certifications are currently being utilized? #3: What types of secondary programs currently provide education pathways for manufacturing? #4: What linkages currently exist between community colleges and universities related to manufacturing? #5: What other types of assets and partnerships currently exist that support manufacturing pathways? Findings: The findings of this study suggest that North Carolina has a significant set of assets to support the main tenets of a renaissance in manufacturing education. The Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (Super CIP) is intended to rationalize and streamline over 120 programs across North Carolina s 58 community colleges in projected high-growth and emerging industries by identifying common core skills, streamlining specialty programs, standardizing curricula and reducing redundancy. That effort will lay the groundwork and build the capacity for implementation of statewide adoption of a manufacturing skills certification system. Recommendations: Recommendations offered in this report are intended to strengthen both the Super CIP and adoption of statewide skills certification. Ultimately, both these initiatives support the three primary goals of SuccessNC: student success, student access and program excellence. As a result of the strategic assessments, investments and visionary planning taking place within the North Carolina Community College System, the state is extremely well positioned to lead the national renaissance of manufacturing education. The North Carolina Community College System is committed to providing a world-class, technology-savvy workforce that has the skills North Carolina businesses, including advanced manufacturers, need now - and in the future. This study provides our colleges with recommendations that will help strengthen our education and training programs, promote work toward seamless career pathways from high school through higher education, and continue to strengthen our support of emerging high-growth industries. Dr. Scott R. Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System 2

4 RECOMMENDATIONS: SUPPORTING THE SUPER CIP Develop a framework for rationalizing the myriad of AAS (292), diplomas (213) and certificates (479) in manufacturing into a reasonable set of common core programs and specialties. Student Success Student Access Program Excellence Identify and eliminate unnecessary overlaps/duplication of program offerings. Identify and enhance critical gaps in program offerings. Explore articulation issues and barriers (perceived and real) between community colleges and four-year institutions relative to manufacturing programs. Revisit the comprehensive articulation agreement with UNC because of changing system requirements. Explore alternative models of instructional delivery in manufacturing. Expand the model for developing mentor colleges in specific program areas. Review and update existing state databases of program information. Develop a sustainable system to collect and maintain comprehensive program information on a more consistent basis. RECOMMENDATIONS: ESTABLISHING A CERTIFICATION SYSTEM Launch a statewide certification initiative with a focus on Welding. Focus the next phase of statewide certification implementation on three program areas: Industrial Systems Technology, Machining Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Ensure that all colleges statewide have equal access to resources and consistent minimum outcomes for programs. Encourage colleges that prepare students for certifications, but do not facilitate the actual taking of exams, to add that extra step. Support efforts to launch an employer outreach campaign regarding the benefits of certification. Launch a college outreach campaign regarding the benefits of industry certifications. Use the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate (NCCRC) as a bridge between non-credit and credit manufacturing-related programs. Establish standardized credit equivalency for the industry-based certifications. Explore adding industry and military certifications to college transcripts. Create more bridge programs with embedded technical and applied foundational skills. Address declining enrollments in high school manufacturing-related programs. Increase opportunities for exposing high school students to college manufacturing-related programs by bringing them to college campuses. 3

5 Why a Renaissance of Manufacturing Education? For manufacturers, a skilled, educated workforce is the most critical element for innovation success, and a decisive factor in global competitiveness. Manufacturers look at their workforce as a business investment: the more adaptable, technology-savvy, and creative an employee, the more secure their investment and higher the likely rate of return. States look at their workforce as an economic development asset: having a talent pool with the skills employers need not only attracts new employers to the state but also allows existing manufacturers to expand and add jobs. The Manufacturing Institute (MI) of the National Association of Manufacturers has built a compelling case regarding the need for an immediate renaissance of manufacturing education. To promote innovation and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, manufacturing education must undergo a renaissance to build education and training systems that incorporate: Skillfully integrated academic and technical learning paths; A heightened focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills; More available alternatives for learning, with more on and off ramps to higher education and lifelong learning systems to acquire new skills as technology advances; and The integration of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials with educational pathways, leading to postsecondary credentials with real value in the workplace to both employers and workers. The premise is that as these key pillars are deployed through the nation s education and workforce development systems, beginning with the community colleges, workers will be able to gain and to document the knowledge and skills that make them immediately productive in the workplace. Knowledge-based workers will, in turn, produce the high-performance workplace that is critical to the strength and vitality of our manufacturing economy, bolstering the process and product innovations that contribute to competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Community colleges in North Carolina have long understood the critical connection between economic and workforce development. Twoyear colleges bridge the divide between high schools and universities, between industry and government and between public and private enterprise. They are uniquely positioned at the grass-roots level to raise awareness about industry trends and new skill requirements, to influence student decision-making and choice, and to build career pathways that lead to longterm success in life and at work. The question is: Are the North Carolina Community Colleges ready to achieve the renaissance of manufacturing education being called for by industry leaders? 4

6 Purpose of Report The purpose of this report is to assess the readiness of North Carolina Community Colleges to lead the charge for a renaissance in manufacturing education. To that end, three questions will be answered: What assets does North Carolina currently have that would facilitate and/or accelerate statewide integration of the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System into community college programs of study, leading to more integration of academic and technical learning paths, increased STEM skills, and more accessible postsecondary education and credentials for low-income youth? How does the Code Green North Carolina Community Colleges Super Curriculum Improvement Project (Super CIP), designed to rationalize manufacturing program offerings, develop a common core curriculum and infuse green skills into the curriculum, align with and support the adoption of a Skills Certification System to create a renaissance of manufacturing education? How do the Skills Certification System and the Super CIP link to and support SuccessNC, the overall framework for driving long-term student success within the community college system? Context Brief overviews of the three key initiatives referenced above provide the context for this study. NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System In March, 2009, in response to the ongoing challenge of preparing the skilled manufacturing workforce of the future, the Manufacturing Institute (MI) decided on a course of action that would support long-term, systemic change to the development of the skills and competencies required by industry. MI launched the NAM- Endorsed Skills Certification System to support the growing technical demands of the modern manufacturing workplace. MI worked with key certification sponsors who are the world leaders in skills certification which align with three major tiers of workplace requirements foundational, cross-cutting technical, and occupationally-specific - including managerial/professional. This collaborative effort among certification sponsors and the Manufacturing Institute resulted in an organization of the certification programs, and the credentials they offer, into a system of stackable credentials which can be awarded by community colleges to validate skills learned in structured manufacturing-related programs of study. 5

7 Foundational competencies are grounded in ACT s National Career Readiness Certificate. Sector-wide and occupationally-specific technical skills are validated by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician, American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welder, and National Institute for Metalforming Skills (NIMS) Machining and Metalforming certifications. Professional knowledge is reflected in the Society for Manufacturing Engineering (SME) Engineering Technologist certification. With funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NAM Manufacturing Institute identified four pilot sites to field test the Skills Certification System: Forsyth Technical College in North Carolina, Lorain County Community College in Ohio, Alamo Colleges in Texas, and Shoreline Community College in Washington. Under the leadership of Dr. Gary Green, President of Forsyth Tech, the college is working to align the curriculum of four of its primary manufacturing-related programs (Machining Technologies, Mechanical Engineering Technologies, Industrial Systems Technologies and Welding) with the components of the NAM-Endorsed industry certifications that meet the needs of local industry. This visual below shows the Skills Certification System at work in the Industrial Systems Technology program at Forsyth Tech. On the far left is the Educational Pathway, reflecting the certificate, diploma and associate degree as well as a BS degree option. On the far right is the Career or Occupational pathway. Each level of educational completion typically qualifies a graduate for particular occupations, and each successive level of training leads to higher-paying jobs. What is NEW about this visual is the middle column, the certification pathway. This column identifies which certificates students can earn as an integral part of their instructional program. These stackable credentials serve to validate that students Code have the Green knowledge Super and skills Curriculum manufacturers have identified as needed by workers in the identified occupations. Since the program launch in July, 2009, 178 students at Forsyth Tech have earned 234 credentials that now give them a competitive advantage in the job market. For more information on the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System, visit: edu_workforce_skills_cert 6

8 Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (Super CIP) The Code Green North Carolina Super Curriculum Improvement Project (Super CIP), a two-year initiative launched by the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents in January 2010, has two interrelated goals: Rationalize and streamline over 120 programs across North Carolina s 58 community colleges in projected high-growth and emerging industries by identifying common core skills, streamlining specialty programs, standardizing curricula and reducing redundancy; and Integrate sustainability and green practices across the curriculum in the areas of energy, building, environment, transportation, and engineering (including manufacturing), to provide students the knowledge and skills needed to enter today s environmentally-friendly workplace. The Super CIP will engage faculty from all 58 colleges who teach in disciplines related to the five target areas, so the scope and impact of the initiative will be significant. The process will identify new and emerging industry trends in the five key areas, determine what content should be deleted and what should be imbedded, and how best to align with third-party certifications. While all colleges will participate, the chart below shows which colleges will play a lead role. Overall Lead Building Engineering (including manufacturing) Energy Environment Transportation Wake Technical Community College Wilson Community College Central Piedmont Community College Central Carolina Community College Davidson County Community College Blue Ridge Community College This two year strategic planning process will position the North Carolina system as a primary driver of cutting-edge instruction to meet the needs of the growing high-technology and emerging green technology sectors. Each of the five content areas that are part of the Super CIP are directly related to critical knowledge and skills required by workers in the priority industry sectors targeted by North Carolina Department of Commerce as future drivers of the economy. Aviation/Military Defense Biotechnology Aerospace Textiles Chemicals/ Plastics/Rubber Information/Communication Technology PROJECTED HIGH GROWTH INDUSTRIES IN NORTH CAROLINA Truck/Heavy Equipment Automotive Furnishings Green Energy Apparel/Textile Machinery Pharmaceuticals/ Life Sciences SUPER CIP Curriculum Improvement Project Higher-Level Specialty Programs Common Core Foundation Skills: Building Engineering Energy Environment Transportation 7

9 SuccessNC In the fall of 2009, the State Board of Community Colleges, in associations with the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents and the State Association of Community College of Trustees, launched a significant planning initiative to positively impact student success. SuccessNC established three primary goals: Student Success: Increase the number of NC students with a credential or degree leading to successful employment, an improved quality of life and continued educational attainment; Student Access: Develop policies and practices that provide increased opportunities for students to successfully navigate through post-secondary education and training; and Program Excellence: Examine the rigor and quality of all learning opportunities to ensure that successful completion equates to a rewarding job or more education. ACCOUNTABILITY: Success will be measured by increased outcomes in three, critical areas: Completions: number of students who successfully complete a program of study. Job-Ready Credentials: number of students who demonstrate verifiable job skills. Low-Income Graduates: number of low-income students who successfully graduate. For more information on SuccessNC, visit: anning/successnc/index.aspx Between launch and 2013, the year of the North Carolina community college system s 50 th anniversary, three key strategies will be employed to ensure the system is aligned to support both sets of customers students and employers in maximizing opportunity for success in constantly-changing global marketplace. Key strategies: Facilitate the identification and sharing of colleges best practices related to each of the three guiding goals of access, success, and program quality; Initiate state-wide policies to foster success while removing those that inhibit student success; and Develop new performance-based student success measures for NCCCS member colleges to replace the existing Critical Success Factors that measure institutional effectiveness. 8

10 Research Questions, Data Sources and Methodology Five key research questions drove the data collection and analysis developed for this report. 1. What manufacturing-related programs of study, including two-year Associate and less-than-two-year diploma and certificate programs, currently exist at North Carolina community colleges? To answer this question, the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) identified which manufacturing-related programs would be included as the focus of the inquiry. Based on research from publically-available sources (identified in Appendix A) researchers developed a database of existing program information. To ensure information in the database was current and accurate, researchers developed a one-page outline of each college s offerings which was sent to each college s point of contact, asking them to confirm, add, or change information regarding the associate, diploma, and certificate options. Based on that just-in-time information, researchers updated the database and analyzed both the database and the revised college outlines to answer this research question. 2. What manufacturing-related, industry-recognized certifications are currently used by North Carolina community college manufacturing programs? What is the current baseline? To answer this question and others listed below, researchers developed an online survey. The link was sent by NCCCS to the key points of contact at each community college, asking them to respond within a certain timeframe. Questions about industry-based certifications addressed current utilization levels of the NAM-endorsed certifications, how certification standards/requirements are utilized, the rationale for adopting or not adopting industry certifications and which, if any, additional manufacturing-related industry certifications the college utilizes. 3. What types of secondary programs currently provide education pathways for manufacturing? To answer this question, researchers gathered data and information from two sources: responses to questions regarding this topic on the online survey referenced above, as well as web-based research regarding those same program models and initiatives. Survey questions focused on which feeder programs were operational, which serve as feeders to community college manufacturing programs and which feeder models colleges perceived as most effective. 4. What linkages currently exist between community colleges and universities as relates to manufacturing pathways? A starting point for this question was research into existing articulation agreements between North Carolina community colleges and universities. The NCCCS Bilateral Agreement Inventory provided summary information about these agreements, and those were confirmed or edited by community college points of contact through questions in the online survey. The survey also asked what challenges or barriers community colleges faced in creating and maintaining these articulations, and if there were other supports in place between universities and community colleges beyond articulation agreements that supported manufacturing pathways. 5. What other types of assets and partnerships currently exist in North Carolina that support manufacturing pathways development? Researchers collected the data and information to answer this question from both the online survey and web-based research. Information was collected on partnerships with manufacturing organizations, employers, workforce boards, foundations, and other national, state and local stakeholders that support manufacturing pathways. 9

11 Findings Appendix A includes a listing of the sources and tools utilized to gather data and information for this report, many of which were referenced in the Methodology section above. Data on all 58 community colleges was available from various state sources. In addition, 43 (74%) also responded to the online survey, which was the primary source for data and information on certifications. Findings are organized around the five research questions, and data sources are identified for each of the questions posed. Several data summaries are included in Appendices and referenced below. Question #1: What manufacturing-related programs of study, including two-year Associate and less-than two year diploma and certificate programs, currently exist at North Carolina community colleges? An analysis of programs listed in the North Carolina Education Catalog and a validation or revision of those listings by faculty and/or administrators at the college level identified the following findings. NCCCS identified thirty-six program areas as manufacturing-related. However, after local review, it was determined that four of the initial areas (Automation Engineering Technology, Furniture Production Technology, Manufacturing Technology/Integrated Operations, and Materials Science Technology) currently have no colleges that offer credentials in those areas; the programs had either been terminated or put on hold. As a result, the number of program offerings currently available is in 32 areas, as outlined in the chart on the following page. Appendix B shows the distribution of those programs by numbers of colleges, AAS degrees, diplomas and certificate credentials. Collectively, the 58 North Carolina community colleges offer 292 AAS degree programs in manufacturing-related programs. The Electronics Engineering Technology AAS, with 36 degrees is the most common two-year credential offered, followed closely by Industrial Systems Technology (33 degrees). Welding (30) and Electrical/ Electronics Technology (33) complete the top 5 AAS fields. The Biotechnology AAS is offered through 37 colleges, but most only provide portions of the coursework and award it through agreements with a lead college. A total of 213 diploma or one-year credit program options are available across the state. Electrical/Electronics Technology has the most one-year diploma options (47), followed by Welding (40), Industrial Systems Technology (28), Machining Technology (26), and Mechanical Engineering Technology (15). North Carolina community colleges offer 479 certificate (six-month or less) credit programs in manufacturing-related areas. Welding tops the list with 104 certificate options among the 47 colleges that are approved to offer an AAS in that program area, and there are 75 in Industrial Systems Technology (at 29 colleges), 73 in Electrical/Electronics Technology (at 36 colleges), 58 in Machining Technology (at 27 colleges), and 36 each in Electronics Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology (at 21 and 16 colleges, respectively). Although Electronics Engineering Technology has the most AAS offerings, it is not the area where the most diplomas and certificates are offered. Welding tops the list, with 40 diploma (one-year) and 104 certificate (six-month) credit options available at the 44 colleges approved to offer an AAS degree in that program area. In addition, many certificates have the same or very nearly the same titles, but may be based on varying skill sets and curriculum, in part because colleges have flexibility to structure them according to local employer needs. This can create confusion for employers when graduates relocate to other parts of the state. 10

12 While there are AAS degrees in some colleges that attempt to meet employer needs in emerging technologies (Nanotechnology, Sustainability Technologies), other colleges are addressing these newer fields (e.g., photovoltaic, robotics, quality engineering, bio-management, energy management systems) under existing AAS degrees in more traditional areas, including Electrical/Electronics Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, and Manufacturing Technology. Manufacturing-Related Programs Aerostructure Manufacturing and Repair Agricultural Biotechnology Alternative Energy Technology: Biofuels Applied Engineering Technology Biopharmaceutical Technology Bioprocess Technology Biotechnology Boat Building Boat Manufacture and Service Chemical Technology Civil Engineering Technology Computer Engineering Technology Computer Technology Integration Computer-Aided Drafting Technology Electrical /Electronics Technology Electrical Engineering Technology Electronics Engineering Technology Global Logistics Technology Industrial Engineering Technology Industrial Management Technology Industrial Systems Technology Laboratory Technology Laser and Photonics Technology Machining Technology Machining Technology /Tool, Die and Mold Making Manufacturing Technology Manufacturing Technology/Composites Manufacturing Technology/Plastics Mechanical Engineering Technology Mechatronics Engineering Technology Mechnical Drafting Technology Nanotechnology Project Management Technology Pulp and Paper Technology Sustainability Technologies Telecommunications & Network Engineering Technologies Welding Technology Several significant data issues surfaced during the course of this study. The Education Catalog lists many AAS degree programs as approved that the colleges report are no longer being offered. For example, 357 manufacturing-related AAS degrees are approved, but only 292 are active, reflecting an 82% capacity. See Appendix C for listing of Approved/ Active Programs. Conversely, a few colleges that offer diplomas and/or certificates in a particular area are not listed as being approved to offer any credential in that program area in the Education Catalog. A number of colleges reported that they offer degree diplomas and/or certificates in a particular program area, but do not offer related AAS degrees. The projected high-growth industries in North Carolina are supported by numerous manufacturing-related programs across the 58 community colleges. Some programs, such as Electronics Engineering, Industrial Systems Technology, Machining Technology, and Welding Technology, provide training in skills which will cross multiple industry sectors and support a wide range of employers. These programs are provided in at least half of the colleges and provide a number of diploma and certificate options which have been developed based on local workforce and economic development needs. As reflected in Appendix B, programs that support specific emerging industries are not as widely represented in current college options. These include limited AAS, diploma and certificates in Aerostructure Manufacturing and Repair, Alternative Energy Technology: Biofuels, and Laser and Photonics Technology, each of which is offered at only one college. Other emerging, cross-cutting programs such as Nanotechnology, Global Logistics Technology, and Bioprocess Technology are available at fewer than five colleges each. 11

13 Question #2: What manufacturing-related, industry-recognized certifications are currently used by North Carolina community college manufacturing programs? Reponses to the online survey provided the main data source for the following findings. The North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate (NCCRC) is the most widely used of the industryrecognized certifications associated with the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System, with thirtytwo (74%) of the 43 responding colleges currently offering the NCCRC. Certifications from the American Welding Society (AWS) are the second most frequently utilized by twenty colleges, although only one college (Central Piedmont) is currently designated an AWS certified testing site, so many colleges prepare students to the AWS standards but students may not actually earn the certification. The National Institute for Metalforming Skills (NIMS) certifications are currently offered by eight colleges, and one college reported utilizing the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Production Technician certification at this time. Roughly fifteen percent of respondents did not know if their college offered industry certifications. Programs currently affiliated with manufacturing-related industry certifications, in order of utilization, include: Welding, Machining, Industrial Systems Technology, Industrial Management Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Quality Assurance, and Automation. However, with the exception of welding certifications which are offered at twenty schools, the numbers are relatively small in every case, ranging from 2 to 8 colleges integrating industry certifications with the identified program areas. In response to a question about how colleges utilize industry-based certifications, the highest percent of respondents (24 colleges) said they used industry standards to drive curriculum and 18 colleges said that, in programs using industry certifications, the curriculum is fully aligned with those requirements. Sixteen colleges have systems in place in certain program areas to prepare students for certification exams and to facilitate students sitting for exams, and seven colleges prepare students but do not actually offer or coordinate students actually taking the exams. Seven colleges have a mechanism in place to cover the cost of certification exams. Regarding the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate, most offer this credential through their continuing education or non-credit programs or in partnership with their local workforce boards although some include it in their technical programs. Respondents report that this credential may be paid for through grants, by students, or through federal or state workforce training programs. Cost was raised as an issue regarding the use of the NCCRC for credit students. The most frequently cited reason for offering the NCCRC to manufacturing students was that local employers were supportive, interested and/or aware of the credential (20 colleges). Some college respondents noted that local employers are asking for the NCCRC in the hiring process with their workforce partners and it had value to potential employers considering relocating to the area. Other reasons for adopting the state CRC was that our president is a big proponent and it offers a better standard baseline than a high school diploma. 12

14 Twenty colleges (48%) currently include the American Welding Society Certification system credentials in their welding programs. The AWS system includes 18 distinct certificates, and was the most commonly used industry-specific credential cited in the online survey. All twenty colleges noted that their programs were aligned with its standards, and students are prepared within their programs to sit for one or more of the exams. Eight colleges currently offer one or more of the 48 National Institute for Metalforming Skills (NIMS) certifications. Those respondents noted that their primary motivations for doing so are the way the certificates complement current college curricula, colleagues recommended it and local employers support it. Over half of the respondents suggested that the cost of this credential (as well as other credentials) was a deterrent. One respondent stated that their programs don t include these credentials because they require too much education (e.g. a 4-year degree) and/or work experience in relation to what the college currently offers in the program. Only one of the responding colleges stated that they currently use the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Production Technician certification as an option in one or more of their manufacturing programs. The college respondent indicated that the primary reason for offering it was the support of local businesses, and several colleges indicated that they were exploring use of the MSSC for future use. Every other respondent to the question about using the MSSC certification said they did not know why it was not being used. In response to a question about what factors had the greatest impact on not using industry certifications, roughly half of all respondents said they did not know. Fifteen colleges raised concerns about costs for industry certifications in credit programs, and ten suggested that business is not yet interested in or supportive of industry credentials. Other reasons for not using industry certifications included: no information, knowledge or awareness; students are not aware/interested; the costs to certify instructors; and that certifications do not always complement current curriculum. The majority of colleges (30) responding to the survey do not currently offer other manufacturingrelated, industry-recognized certifications, but eleven (11) colleges do. These include National Council on Construction Education Research (NCCER) in electrical or trade programs, OSHA safety or operational (e.g. forklift) certifications, Siemens Mechatronics Certification, MasterCAM, and a variety of options in Lean, Six Sigma, and other quality assurance areas. One college prepares students for the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Certified Manufacturing Technologist, which is a part of the NAM system but typically offered through four-year institutions. When asked to offer comments on implementing a statewide approach to industry-based certifications, respondents focused on considerations of equity and funding. One respondent noted that all programs in a particular occupational area across the state need to participate, and funding for instructor certification and student test costs should also be included. Another suggested that federal funding sources for manufacturing-related programs, such as Carl Perkins and Tech Prep, could be used as leverage if they endorsed or encouraged industry-recognized certifications as a part of careertechnical programs. 13

15 Question #3: What types of secondary programs currently provide education pathways for manufacturing? Findings are based on responses to the online survey, state database, and webbased research of secondary program models. North Carolina offers five primary models at the secondary level that serve as foundational skillbuilding opportunities for career pathways in manufacturing. These include Secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) in manufacturing-related areas; Tech Prep/2+2 (dual enrollment); Early College/Learn and Earn; Internships; and Apprenticeships. These program models, as they are implemented in North Carolina, are briefly described in Appendix D. Of North Carolina s 82,294 high school graduates in 2008, at least 53 percent completed a technical sequence of four career-technical courses. Over 20 percent completed requirements to be both College Tech Prep and College/University Prep and approximately 25 percent completed the requirements to be College Tech Prep alone. While significant numbers of students in North Carolina are engaged in career technical education and dual enrollment options, enrollment of students in manufacturing-related programs has dropped every year for almost every program offered, as shown in Appendix E. The number of high school students engaged in manufacturing programs dropped from 10,335 in to 8,719 in Manufacturing-related CTE programs include: Printing and Graphics I & II, Electronics I & II, Furniture and Cabinet Making I & II, Metals Manufacturing I & II, and Welding Technology I & II. The annual rate of enrollment decline in these programs ranges from -12% to -26% over the last five years. Moreover, student enrollment in all programs dropped dramatically between the Level I and Level II courses. In addition to specific structural models for linking secondary students into manufacturing programs of study at community college and/or careers in manufacturing, North Carolina also has a significant number of Curriculum Enhancement and Career Awareness Initiatives that provide enriched learning experiences in math, science, critical thinking and problem solving skills critical to success in the modern manufacturing workplace. These include several national program initiatives includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) high schools or programs; Project Lead the Way, and FIRST Robotics, as well as several state-sponsored initiatives, including Future Factory and Manufacturing Makes It Real. These Enhancement Initiatives are described in Appendix F. All survey respondents agreed that high school partnerships are an important pathway to their manufacturing-related programs. When asked what high school program models were offered in their region, respondents identified Career Technical/Vocational secondary programs (95%), Early College (79%); STEM (44%) and Tech Prep/2+2 (43%) as most prevalent. Nearly 90% of respondents described vocational/career-technical secondary programs as being one of the most effective ways to prepare students for success in college manufacturing programs. Internships at local manufacturing companies (50%) and dual-credit options (45%) such as Tech Prep/2+2 also rated high. STEM programs and apprenticeship programs were also identified as effective models for building skills of students enrolled in manufacturing-related programs. 14

16 When asked about models that are effective in feeding students into college manufacturing programs, vocational/career technical programs topped the list by far, with 38 (95%) of responding colleges giving it the top vote. Tech Prep/2 + 2 programs were identified by 18 colleges (45% of respondents) followed by STEM and Early College also appeared to be effective for nearly 30% of respondents. Question #4: What linkages currently exist between community colleges and universities as relates to manufacturing pathways? Data sources included the 2009 North Carolina Bilateral Agreement Inventory and responses to the online survey. Community college survey respondents had differing opinions regarding the importance of formal articulation agreements between two- and four-year institutions. About a quarter (29%) said they are very important, the majority (52%) thought they are moderately important and about a quarter (20%) said they are not important. Fourteen colleges responded that many manufacturing degrees are terminal and therefore do not need additional articulation with universities. On the other hand, for programs such as engineering technology, articulation agreements are very important. According to the 2009 Bilateral Agreement Inventory (NC Community College System and University of North Carolina), 71 articulation agreements are currently in place with 45 of the 58 community colleges in manufacturing-related areas. Biotechnology and Electronics Engineering Technology programs hold 26 each, while the majority of programs have none. Appendix G shows the current career pathway progression in manufacturing-related programs, from certificates to diplomas to AAS degrees to four-year articulations. With the exception of Electronics Engineering Technology, few pathways currently exist. During the SuccessNC Listening Tour, several colleges raised the point that there is no statewide agreement to have AAS degrees articulate at the four-year level and maintained that doing so would save a lot of effort by colleges and universities to do this on their own. AAS degree transfer programs (primarily the general education courses required for a four-year degree) were cited by one college as a way that community colleges can support alignment of their programs without a formal articulation agreement for technical coursework. Another pointed out that it would be helpful to have a centralized database to learn about what articulations are already in place. When asked what factors helped facilitate articulation agreements with four-year institutions, colleges reported that they were primarily driven by committed faculty or administrators who pursued the partnership (60%), geographic proximity (40%) and strong industry support or demand for upper-division skills (33%). Barriers most often cited for lack of articulation agreements were complex university requirements, including time and paperwork (42%), limited university partnerships (39%) and lack of university interest (33%). Ease of the process was not a strong reason for pursuing articulation agreements (20%). Faculty credentials were viewed by some as a barrier to articulation. Respondents stated that university or department requirements such as a master s degree to teach any transfer courses limited the number of qualified community college faculty, many of whom had extensive industry, rather than academic, credentials and experience. This issue also plays into SACS accreditation requirements. Inaccurate perceptions or questions of community college course rigor were also identified by respondents as a barrier for some programs to establish articulation agreements. 15

17 Other initiatives that respondents identified as supporting manufacturing workforce development at two- and four- year colleges and universities include: Entrepreneurship Programs, Business Incubators and Technology Transfer initiatives. Question #5: What other types of assets and partnerships currently exist in North Carolina that support manufacturing pathways development? Information and data for answering this question came from the online survey and web-based research. Employers, workforce and economic development agencies, industry associations, and community action organizations are some of the partnerships noted that support career pathways in manufacturing education. Fourteen out of forty-two colleges (33%) reported relationships with regional and/or state level manufacturing associations or extension partnerships that support their manufacturing-related programs. These included national associations that also provided industry standards or certifications (American Welding Society, National Institute for Metalforming Skills, National Fluid Power Association), professional associations (Association of Instructors of Machine Shops, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, International Society of Automation), and regional partners (North Carolina State Industrial Extension Service/ MEP, North Carolina Biotechnology Center). See Appendix H for a listing of manufacturing associations and organization assets. Nearly 80% of colleges identified at least one partnership with a major manufacturing firm in their region. These partners represented a wide range of high-growth and high-demand sectors, including aerospace/defense, food processing, textiles, transportation, energy, metals, plastics, and secondary wood products manufacturing, biotechnology, and electronics. Workforce investment boards and workforce development centers are also key partners for many community colleges. Sixteen respondents cited local and regional initiatives with these partners, including training services, job placement for graduates, and the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate. Economic development partners at the local, regional, and state levels were also cited by eighteen college respondents. In particular, the colleges manufacturing programs are key to industry expansion, attracting new employers to the area, and retraining the current workforce, according to survey responses. Community organizations, including church programs (56%), school programs (63%), YMCA/YWCA (40%), Big Brother/Big Sister (35%) and Job Corps (16%) were identified by respondents as having effective strategies to support and engage low-income youth in college manufacturing programs. The Boys and Girls Club, United Way, Urban League, and federallyfunded summer job programs for youth were also cited. Several national and state level transformation initiatives intended to enhance the educational experience among low-income youth were identified as part of this asset mapping process and are highlighted in Appendix I. 16

18 New Credentials Database In the process of answering the five questions above, considerable data was collected related to manufacturing-related programs offered by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS). Currently, the NCCCS maintains a common database identifying all currently-approved associate degrees and most diploma programs offered by the state s 58 colleges. However, lessthan-one-year certificates are not currently tracked at the state level since most are developed or eliminated based on local employer demand. Because certificates and diplomas are critical stepping stones in the career pathways development process, collecting information and data on these offerings was a critical component of evaluating the readiness of the state to adopt a statewide certification system and to transform manufacturing education. Certificate titles were gathered through reviews of all college websites and then information on all levels of programs were validated by the colleges through a survey and then this information was used to create a new database. With the addition of the certificate information, NCCCS is now positioned to evaluate the totality of credit programs offered, which in effect constitutes the infrastructure on which the state can build its statewide manufacturing certification system. Colleges will be able to see where common skill areas exist across the state and determine how to best collaborate in order to meet employer needs and align with economic development priorities. The North Carolina Community College System is committed to providing a world-class, technology-savvy workforce that has the skills North Carolina businesses, including advanced manufacturers, need now - and in the future. This study provides our colleges with recommendations that will help strengthen our education and training programs, promote work toward seamless career pathways from high school through higher education, and continue to strengthen our support of emerging high-growth industries. Dr. Scott R. Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System 17

19 Analysis and Recommendations The following analyses and recommendations are drawn from the data and information collected for this report. To reflect the linkage of the Super CIP initiative and possible launch of a statewide NAM- Endorsed Skills Certification initiative, the recommendations are organized under those headings. To show how the recommendations, if implemented, would support SuccessNC, each recommendation is cross-walked to the primary SuccessNC goals. Some recommendations support more than one goal, and therefore would bring a relatively greater return on investment. SuccessNC goals are defined as: Student Success: Increase the number of NC students with a credential or degree leading to successful employment, an improved quality of life and continued educational attainment; Student Access: Develop policies and practices that provide increased opportunities for students to successfully navigate through post-secondary education and training; and Program Excellence: Examine the rigor and quality of all learning opportunities to ensure that successful completion equates to a rewarding job or more education RECOMMENDATIONS: SUPPORTING THE SUPER CIP Develop a framework for rationalizing the myriad of AAS (292), diplomas (213) and certificates (479) in manufacturing into a reasonable set of common core programs and specialties. Many programs appear to share significant common content, and yet have many variations in terms of titles at the diploma and certificate levels, e.g., Industrial Systems Technology, Industrial Systems, Mechanical, Industrial Systems, Basic Maintenance) Identify and eliminate unnecessary overlaps/duplication of program offerings. Evaluate current statewide program offerings relative to projected labor market demand and emerging growth industries. Determine if outdated programs need to be eliminated/scaled back and if certain programs are saturating market need. Identify and enhance critical gaps in program offerings. Examine the low numbers of program offerings in many emerging green technology areas such as Automation Engineering Technology and Laser and Photonics Technology. Determine why some manufacturing-related programs are no longer offered at any NC community college, and whether they should be supported and revived based on local economic demand or dropped completely from state offerings. Develop consistency among colleges regarding development of credentials in emerging fields. Explore articulation issues and barriers between community colleges and four-year institutions relative to manufacturing programs. The majority of manufacturing programs have no articulation agreements. Concerns, misperceptions, and opportunities regarding rigor of course content, faculty experience/ expertise and university relationships need to be aired and resolved as appropriate. Revisit the comprehensive articulation agreement with UNC because of changing system requirements. Consider a General Education Core that transfers as a block to any UNC institution. Consider a core of technical programs that build cross-cutting skills and transfer as a block to relevant engineering programs. Explore alternative models of instructional delivery in manufacturing. Alternative delivery modes such as online and workplace-based instruction, particularly in emerging industries, expand college capacity to provide training in manufacturingrelated areas. Employer partnerships have the added benefits of creating a cohort and a direct application of skills, and can serve as feeders to the campus-based programs. Include professional development for faculty in these alternative ways of teaching. Student Success Student Access 18 Program Excellence

20 Consider developing mentor colleges in specific program areas. To support capacity building and program development in emerging technologies as well as the greening of curriculum in more traditional programs, the state should consider pairing colleges of greater and lesser infrastructure and capacity in a mentor-like relationship. A model for this already exists in the ISA Level III initiative. Review and update existing state databases of program information. This study determined that current databases of information related to degrees, diplomas, certificates and articulations have significant inaccuracies. In order to achieve its objectives, the Super CIP process must be based on accurate and current data. Develop a sustainable system to collect and maintain comprehensive program information on a more consistent basis in the future. The state does not currently track local data and information on less-than-two-year programs; yet those diploma and certificate programs are essential components of a career pathway system that ensures long-term student access and success. RECOMMENDATIONS: ESTABLISHING A SKILLS CERTIFICATION SYSTEM IN NORTH CAROLINA Launch a statewide certification initiative with a focus on Welding. Welding currently has the largest number of career pathway options (certificate, diploma and AAS) of any manufacturing program. Nearly half of the colleges responding to the survey have already incorporated the American Welding Society (AWS) certification into their Welding programs, and have aligned their curriculum with certification requirements. Involve all programs and pay for instructor certifications to ensure access and equity. Establish more AWS certified testing sites so more students can actually earn AWS credentials. Focus the next phase of statewide certification implementation on three program areas: Industrial Systems Technology, Machining Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. These programs are offered by significant numbers of colleges, have established educational pathways, and are high-demand occupations across multiple manufacturing industries. Moreover, Forsyth Technical College piloted these programs as part of the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification, so curriculum has already been aligned to industry certification requirements and implementation issues have been addressed. Ensure that all colleges statewide have equal access to resources (including funding for instructor certification and student costs, if covered) and consistent minimum outcomes for programs. When statewide roll-out is considered, build on existing best practice, but level the playing field so all colleges and therefore all students - are given equal opportunity to participate. Encourage colleges that prepare students for certifications, but do not facilitate the actual taking of exams, to add that extra step. A number of colleges have aligned their curriculum with certification requirements but students are left on their own to schedule, take and pay for certification exams. Such colleges offer low hanging fruit and should be supported in taking extra steps to make needed links with certification sponsors. Support efforts to launch an employer outreach campaign regarding the benefits of certification. Many colleges identified a perceived lack of demand by employers as a barrier to adopting some certifications. The Manufacturing Institute has developed an employer campaign that can be used by colleges as a tool to address that issue. 19

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