Apprenticeship grant will help MCC train more KC workers in advanced manufacturing

A major shortage of manufacturing workers is predicted in the Kansas City area in the next five years.

Metropolitan Community College plans to expand its already growing skilled trades apprenticeship program, a move made possible by substantial grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The four-year federal grant, announced in late June, was awarded to the Missouri Apprenticeships in Manufacturing Program (MoAMP), a statewide initiative to improve the ability to deliver innovative pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training programs.

The state’s community and technical colleges, including MCC, as well as private sector partner the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, will target three career pathways within advanced manufacturing: automation and systems, logistics, and production and maintenance.

At MCC, the federal funding is likely to be used to support further growth of the College’s apprenticeship program and kick-start training at Kansas City area manufacturing businesses unfamiliar with modern apprenticeships.

MCC apprentices not only learn on the job (and receive a paycheck) but also take MCC courses that typically lead to certificates and an associate degree in high-demand manufacturing fields.

There’s no question that the Kansas City region is facing a major shortage of workers in advanced manufacturing.

“We know from the data that this area will have to replace 50 percent of its skilled trades professionals in manufacturing in the next five years,” MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty says. “Apprenticeships are a smart way to help fill that gap.”

MCC’s skilled trades apprenticeship program, launched in 2017, helps support more than 100 local apprentices, apprenticeship program manager Shonda Atwater says.

The Department of Labor apprenticeship grant totals about $12 million. About $2.2 million will go to Metropolitan Community College.

The grant-writing effort was led by the Missouri Community College Association and St. Louis Community College, which will act as the grant’s fiscal agent. The grant application was also written with extensive input from state workforce development leaders and workforce investment boards.

Advanced manufacturing in Missouri represents 8.6% of total private-sector employment, with 202,419 workers across 9,727 establishments in 29 industries. From 2012-2017, Missouri’s manufacturing employment grew by 17,555.

The nine colleges that will participate in the statewide consortium are East Central College (Union), Jefferson College (Hillsboro), Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City), Mineral Area College (Park Hills), Moberly Area Community College, St. Charles Community College, St. Louis Community College, State Fair Community College (Sedalia) and State Technical College of Missouri (Linn).

Learn more about MCC’s apprenticeship program by visiting mcckc.edu/apprenticeships.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s news release can be viewed here.