Harold J. Wirths

Mobile Training Lab, Focusing on Manufacturing Jobs, Launched

The Christie administration recently joined leaders of the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development at Mercer County Community College to unveil a six-ton mobile training laboratory designed to bring advanced manufacturing training to any company or community college campus in the state.

“New Jersey has a long history of manufacturing, and this administration well understands the economic importance of the leaner, advanced manufacturing operations that have since evolved. It is imperative that we continue to work with our partners to give students and job-seekers the specific skills required to land the jobs emerging in this key industry sector, which in turn will help to boost the Garden State’s overall economy,” said Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The mobile lab, purchased with federal funding by Camden County College, is the first of its kind in New Jersey and among the first in the nation to be purchased by a college or university.  It is one of two being created to advance the NJ Manufacturing Training Initiative launched two years ago through a partnership involving the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Community College Consortium and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).

“Mobile training labs for the manufacturing industry are another example of how higher education is aligning our programs to the workforce development demands of employers in collaboration with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development,” said Sivaraman Anbarasan, Executive Director, of the Community College Consortium.

The mobile lab unveiled today comes equipped with mobile generators, a 384-square-foot classroom with computers and training equipment for 10 students, and the ability to host instruction for training in CNC (Computer Numerical Control) metal fabrication and mechatronics. Both skill sets are in high demand by New Jersey manufacturers.

“The trailers are a great way to provide low-cost, easily accessible training for individuals so they have the skills they need to find a well-paying job in manufacturing,” said NJBIA Acting President Melanie Willoughby. “Working together with the state Department of Labor and New Jersey’s community colleges NJBIA has identified the specific skills that are most needed by manufacturers and we have helped develop a curriculum to teach those skills.  The trailers are one important way of implementing that vision without having to build expensive facilities in every community college in the state.”

The Labor Department already has been working closely with the colleges and the NJBIA on a CNC metal fabrication training program designed to provide workers with manufacturing skills and hands-on experience identified by manufacturing employers as crucial to industry needs. The collaborative effort has focused on helping manufacturers find and hire workers with skills their companies need to compete, expand and prosper. The effort also aims to employ the unemployed by training and certifying people for new careers in advanced manufacturing industries.

“Today’s manufacturing jobs require workers to understand and operate complex computer-driven machines. The trailers will bring training on these machines to all corners of the state to increase the skills of our workforce, support the growth of manufacturing and strengthen the economy of New Jersey,” said Dr. Raymond Yannuzzi, President of Camden County College.

“Just as manufacturing as an industry has evolved so has the way we train our employees.  The mobile classrooms represent an innovative way to keep our workforce competitive in a global economy.” Clifford F. Lindholm, III, President and CEO of Falstrom Company in Passaic County.