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Northeast to offer new programming to train industrial maintenance technicians

Northeast to offer new programming to train industrial maintenance technicians

NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College in Norfolk and South Sioux City will launch two non-credit programs this fall that are specifically tailored to meet industry needs in electrical-instrumentation maintenance and mechanical maintenance in manufacturing facilities.

Cyndi Hanson, dean of workforce development and executive director of Northeast’s extended campus in South Sioux City, said the programs were originally scheduled to launch this past spring, but were delayed due to COVID-19. She said the programs were developed following a needs assessment and curriculum development process.

“Many people still think of manufacturing as the three ‘Ds – dark, dirty and dangerous;’ however, if you walk into today’s manufacturing factories, you’re going to find automated equipment, clean facilities and attention to safety,” Hanson said. “Careers in industrial maintenance are critical to maintain an efficiency of operation of equipment due to the increase in automation. We continue to hear from regional employers who say they are in a great need of additional employees with these skills.”

Hanson said Northeast Community College is looking to fill the interval by providing targeted programming for these high demand occupations.

“Like so many professions, manufacturing maintenance positions are filled by many Baby Boomers who are retiring. There aren’t a lot of qualified people out there to take over those positions.”

Glen Lammers, applied engineering trainer at Northeast, spent six months visiting with various industry representatives throughout the College’s 20 county service area to determine manufacturing and industry training needs.

“It was during this time that we identified a consistent theme of needs – a desire for more people who are trained in the areas of electrical trouble-shooting, process automation and instrumentation, and mechanical skills training,” Lammers said. “This, in turn, determined the need for the new programs, which feature applications for both customized training for existing employees and short-term workforce readiness skills to individuals who are not seeking a degree.”

In the course, Manufacturing Maintenance: Electrical & Instrumentation Training, participants will identify safety practices related to various electrical apparatuses, while in Manufacturing Maintenance: Mechanical Training, they will gain a knowledge and proficiency of various tools and instruments utilized by automation equipment mechanics.

Lammers said, “Throughout the training, participants will gain knowledge of various tools and instruments that are utilized by electrical and instrumentation technicians and demonstrate how to use them properly.” 

Manufacturing Maintenance: Electrical & Instrumentation Training will be held Monday-Friday, Oct. 26-Nov. 5, at the Northeast Community College Extended Campus, 1001 College Way, Room 205, in South Sioux City. Class will meet occasionally on Saturdays for certification training. Cost of the course is $3,840, with a required tool cost of approximately $1,150. Textbooks may be purchased at the Northeast bookstore for approximately $195.

Manufacturing Maintenance: Mechanical Training will be offered Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Jan. 29, 2021, in the Arlo Wirth Building, Rooms 104/115, on the Northeast campus in Norfolk. This class will also meet occasionally on Saturdays for certification training. This class will not meet Dec. 23-Jan. 8. Cost is $5,040, with the required tool cost of approximately $1,000. Textbooks may be purchased at the Northeast bookstore for approximately $460.

A large portion of the costs may be covered through financial assistance programs. The Community College Gap Assistance Program (GAP) and the Get Nebraska Growing Workforce Retraining Initiative (WRI) are available funding sources to assist students who meet income requirements.

The Gap program aims to address the workforce shortage by offering financial aid to low-income community college students who enroll in non-credit courses in such high-demand fields. The WRI, which will, in part, provide scholarship dollars to cover tuition and examination fees to eligible individuals who enroll in designated training programs. The average scholarship will be approximately $1,100. Funding covers tuition, tools, and textbooks.  

“When coupled with Gap assistance funding and the Workforce Retraining Initiative, Northeast Community College could change lives and give hope and opportunity to those who may otherwise feel like college, training opportunities, and a better way of life are out of their reach,” Lammers said. 

Hanson said the programming is exactly what manufacturers across the region have requested.

“Northeast Nebraska is home to numerous manufacturing facilities producing everything from homes to ethanol to food. Even though their products are different, what they all need are well-trained individuals to maintain their equipment and keep operations running safely,” she said. “Northeast’s Industrial Maintenance program is intended to do just that - quickly equip people with the skills and knowledge to support the productivity of our region.”

To learn more about Northeast Community College’s Industrial Maintenance programming and financial assistance options, contact Workforce Development Coordinator Amy Kaiser at (402) 844-7245 or