Montgomery County Community College Workforce Development’s recent Annual Roundtable Discussion focused on fostering collaborative pathways that can mutually benefit businesses and organizations, employees and students.
“Montgomery County Community College’s Workforce Development Division strives to build bridges,” said Kyle Longacre, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, to more than 50 attendees. “We want to partner with you as business partners and bring trainers, educators and connectors to help you build your bridge to economic development.”
“We also want to build a bridge for our students, whether they are on the credit or non-credit side, to enter into employment or if they want to skill up within the companies and nonprofits where they work. As a bridge-builder in this space, there is a lot of satisfaction that comes as workforce professionals, but it also requires a lot of work and collaboration,” he said.
By building these bridges, MCCC’s collaborative workforce development model will help to improve local, regional and state economic growth, Longacre explained.
Launching Montcoworks Apprenticeship Program (MAP)
A new component of this model is MCCC’s Montcoworks Apprenticeship Program (MAP), an earn-and-learn pathway for students.
This is a paradigm shift, explained Longacre. Instead of students earning a degree or credential and then seeking employment, students first will be hired by a participating partner company or organization and be paid while learning. During the 24-month program, students will work 30 to 40 hours per week and take classes at MCCC in the evening. Employers will pay for tuition, which may be offset by public or private funding, if it is available, said Longacre.
The program’s goal, Longacre explained, is to create a “win-win-win” solution. It will minimize or eliminate tuition debt for students and their families while enabling students to get jobs in high-demand fields. It will help industry partners who are facing significant workforce shortages and a lack of skilled workforce candidates. It will be beneficial for community partners by maximizing resources and the training capacity of MCCC and its workforce partners.
MAP will be a sponsored apprenticeship program, meaning it is registered with the state to provide a national journeyman certificate of completion for participants. The employer will be responsible for providing on-the-job training and mentorship. MCCC will provide the related technical instruction to address key technical competencies, credentials and standardized curricula.
“The goal is that apprentices will stay with the companies and organizations and become long-term employees,” Longacre said.
MCCC is launching MAP focusing on a program for industrial maintenance mechanics, a high-priority occupation in the industrial and manufacturing market for Montgomery County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.
Going forward, MCCC plans to expand the program offerings across a variety of industry areas, including Information Technology and Human Services, based on the employment needs of companies and organizations who will partner with MAP.
For more information, contact Kyle Longacre at email@example.com. Interested industry partners may complete the online form at mc3.edu/MAPPartners or recommend potential apprenticeship applicants at mc3.edu/MapInquiry.
Workforce Training as a WEDnetPA Partner
Another way MCCC partners with businesses is by training incumbent employees through the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania or WEDnetPA. Formed in 1999 and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, WEDnetPA serves more than 700 companies and tens-of-thousands employees each year.
MCCC is the Montgomery County partner for WEDnetPA, explained Bernadette DeBias, MCCC Director of Workforce Development. MCCC assists businesses with obtaining funding and providing training programs.
To be eligible, companies must be located in Pennsylvania and part of eligible industry clusters, as defined in the guidelines. The maximum grant is $2,000 per employee, up to $100,000 per company per fiscal year. Companies may only receive funding for two consecutive years or three years out of a five.
For employees to be eligible, they must be residents of and permanently employed in Pennsylvania on a full-time basis. In addition, they must earn at least $12 per hour and be employed by the specific company location for which a grant is awarded.
Eligible training programs, explained DeBias, must start on or after July 1, 2022, and be completed before June 30, 2023. The programs must involve skill building for current jobs or advancement. Employers pay for the cost of training upfront and are reimbursed at completion.
“We anticipate that funding will be the same as last year or approximately $8 million for the state and approximately $294,000 for Montgomery County,” said DeBias.
MCCC will allocate 75% of its funding by the end of August, and 90% or more of its funding by the end of September. WEDNET applicants are encouraged to apply now. An initial site visit is required to discuss eligibility and the proposed training plan.
For more information about eligibility and training plans for WEDnetPA, contact Bernadette DeBias at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any questions concerning the application, contract or invoicing processes, contact Katina Faulk at email@example.com.
Montgomery County Resources
As part of the roundtable discussion, guest speakers, Montgomery County Director of Commerce Dave Zellers, and MontcoWorks Executive Director Jennifer Butler, spoke about additional resources, loans, grants and opportunities available in their respective areas to help Montgomery County businesses and employees.
“Partnerships are so important. We are truly blessed to have a community college right
here in the County. Not every county has a community college like this, and it’s a
great thing to see the College’s Workforce Development growth and activities to augment
all the things we’re doing as a County government and strengthen those areas,” Zellers
Montgomery County’s MontcoWorks – Workforce Development Board – offers support and assistance for employers and employees. Many of these services are facilitated through PACareerLink, 1430 DeKalb Street, Norristown. The services are funded through federal funds and are free to employers and employees.
MontcoWorks will be hosting a Careers of Tomorrow career fair for students in grades 8 through 12 on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks. For more information, MontcoWorks’ website.
Following the presentations, participants had the opportunity to join four breakout training sessions featuring How Do We Talk to People?/Effective Communications, Cracking the Project Code – 3 Fundamentals for Project Management, Unlocking the Power of Office 365 and The Value of OSHA Outreach Training.
Montgomery County Community College’s Workforce Development Division can customize training for area companies and deliver the training onsite or virtually.