Roane State Community College has received a $2.86 million federal grant that will support educating workers in advanced materials technician-level training, a field with strong job growth prospects.

Roane-State-CCRoane State Community College has received a $2.86 million federal grant that will support educating workers in advanced materials technician-level training, a field with strong job growth prospects.

Roane State was one of 41 community colleges and organizations nationally, and the only one in Tennessee, to receive a Community Based Job Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor received 323 applications and awarded $125 million in grants. Roane State will receive the $2.86 million over the next three years.

The grant will cover tuition and supplies for participants who are unemployed. Employers will receive a significant discount on training costs for their current employees. More information about training will be available this fall.

“Our strong partnerships with area businesses and organizations made this successful grant possible,” Roane State President Dr. Gary Goff said. “We greatly appreciate their support and look forward to working together to educate workers in this high-demand field.”

“In this tough economy, jobs are of the utmost importance,” U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis said. “This major investment in the area’s workforce will be an asset in helping many people receive the proper training to land a good-paying job in a high growth sector. I applaud the cooperative efforts of all the partners involved in helping to bring this grant to Tennessee.”

Grant partners with Roane State were Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Toho Tenax America Inc.; CoorsTek Inc.; Protomet Corporation; USEC Inc.; Confluence Solar Inc.; Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley; the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; the Tennessee Solar Energy Association; Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Local Workforce Investment Areas 3 and 4; the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET); Ametek Inc.; and Babcock & Wilcox.

Combined, these organizations are committing $562,955 worth of resources and services to the project.

The grant partners have identified the need to train and hire more than 1,200 new advanced materials technicians during the next three years. The grant includes funds for tuition and other costs for more than 600 unemployed individuals to complete the training.

Trained technicians work with specialized materials such as those used for solar energy and carbon fiber components.

The grant will fund an Advanced Materials Training and Education Center (AMTEC) in Oak Ridge. Training will be composed of a four-month curriculum. Participants who successfully complete the training will be qualified for technician-level employment in the advanced materials industry.

“The AMTEC’s initial focus will be work in carbon fiber and solar energy,” said Dr. Lou Rabinowitz, Roane State Director of Workforce Connections. “The project also lays the groundwork for emerging advanced materials workforce needs including nanotechnology, nuclear energy, battery storage and more. For those seeking high-tech, good-paying jobs, the AMTEC will be a tremendous resource for years to come. Entry-level wages in this field are $20 or more per hour.”

CROET will provide classroom facilities for the AMTEC in the Halcyon Commercialization Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The grant will pay for three staff positions (project director, assistant director and administrative assistant), faculty, training equipment, computers, office supplies, software and other needs.

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Source: Roane State Community College
Photo: Roane State Community College