A common complaint voiced by local manufacturers has been the lack of a trained local workforce. An Appalachian Regional Commission grant should help alleviate some of the problem.
The $93,000 award to Allegany College of Maryland will be used to develop manufacturing courses. If all goes as planned, the classes could be ready to begin this fall.
A number of local employers have asked for training courses, including AES Warrior Run, the Mineral Fabrication and Machine Co., the Electrical Workers Training Center, ATK, and the NewPage Corp. The college said more than 8 percent of the local workforce is involved in the manufacturing sector.
Becky Ruppert, director of professional development for the college, said the school plans to update its welding lab. ACM officials are pursuing certifications for their new class offerings with the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and the American Welding Society.
Ruppert said the courses at ACM will be taught through the continuing education program. An example of the class offerings include drill press and manual milling skills, computer numerical control turning, lathe fundamentals, measuring and materials, and other machine-related topics.
The local effort will not just consist of courses at ACM. The college is working with the Allegany County Board of Education to correlate ACM’s offerings with skills high school students are able to learn. Many of the high school courses that would be used in manufacturing are offered at the Center for Career and Technical Education on McMullen Highway in Cresaptown.
There may not be nearly as many manufacturing jobs in the area as there were decades ago, but there are still a number of thriving companies who need employees with skill and aptitude. The ARC grant and work done by Allegany College and the county public school system should help the local employers who have asked for help.