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Providing An Antidote
Right Skills Now is an antidote to those challenges. The program launched last year as a pilot in Minnesota at Dunwoody College of Technology and South Central Community College. It is a 24-week program, broken down into 18 weeks of class and lab work, followed by a six-week paid internship, and prepares graduates to become CNC operators. Built on the National Association of Manufacturers-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, Right Skills Now's core partners include the NAM-affiliated Manufacturing Institute, training organization ACT Inc., the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and the president's Jobs Council.
Miller says she and others in her company, her industry's trade association, the Precision Machined Products Association and others in the industry collaborated with the partnering colleges to develop the training program.
"The colleges really worked well with us in adapting a curriculum that is what we, the manufacturers, wanted," she says.
Several students from the Right Skills Now program are slated to start internships soon at Permac Industries, and Miller says she hopes eventually to hire them -- and provide even more training opportunities.
"We don't want to just keep people at [CNC] operator levels," she says. "We want them to go to the next level."
Right Skills Now is already advancing to the next level, having expanded outside of Minnesota into Nevada. And Miller describes it as a nationally replicable template for technical training of any sort.