WELDON – As part of training the workforce in Halifax and Northampton Counties, Halifax Community College is preparing for the building of a new facility aimed at increasing the job market and improving the local economy while improving the quality of life for students through training and development in Advanced Manufacturing.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to Halifax Community College to assist in the building of the college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Training Center. The project is expected to create more than 120 jobs and generate approximately $19 million in private investment.
“A key focus of the Trump Administration is ensuring that American workers have the skills to succeed in the face of global competition,” said Ross. “The new Halifax Community College Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Training Center will help provide local businesses with an able workforce, stimulating future growth in the community.”
The training center will house curriculum and short-term training programs for industrial systems technology, welding technology and automotive systems technology. In addition, the center will serve as a creative space where businesses and industries can upgrade the skills of their current employees and new hires. The Small Business Center, which offers assistance to residents at no cost, will expand offering more opportunities to create new small businesses in the area. In addition, Halifax will create a career development and placement center for students.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments. EDA funds allow the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.
“This EDA Grant award is the culmination of the efforts of many individuals who are committed to the economic advancement of Halifax and Northampton counties. We anticipate that this state-of-the-art facility will, among other things, significantly improve the college’s ability to meet the future workforce needs of our community,” said Dr. Michael A. Elam, president of Halifax Community College.
“This facility is going to let us practically double in size each of the three programs – welding, automotive technologies, and industrial technologies. So, we will be able to offer more training to more residents that will lead, ultimately, to more jobs,” added Elam.
The core programs of welding, automotive technologies and industrial technologies provides students with a hands-on curriculum designed to prepare them for successful careers as technicians in fields where workers are needed.
In welding technology, students are provided with an understanding of the science, technology, and applications essential for employment in the welding and metal industry as an entry-level technician.
Students completing industrial technology courses are prepared to safely service, maintain, repair, or install equipment. Instruction includes theory and skill training needed for inspecting, testing, troubleshooting, and diagnosing industrial systems.
“The first thing I tell my students is in 14.5 seconds, the sun provides enough energy to power the world for the rest of the day. This is a huge opportunity for our students,” said Jason Bone, Industrial Systems Technology instructor and solar energy program instructor.
“Being a new energy, there aren’t many people trained in it right now. If you have a credential in solar, you’re going to get snagged up in a heartbeat,” he added.
Upon completion of this curriculum, graduates should be able to safely install, inspect, diagnose, repair, and maintain industrial process and support equipment.
In the Automotive Systems Technology, students are prepared for employment as automotive service technicians. This program provides an introduction to automotive careers and increases student awareness of the challenges associated with this fast and ever-changing field.
Through the building of the new training facility, Halifax Community College will be able to double its current offerings to students.
“We’re excited. This is a great opportunity for our region to benefit economically from this center. We’re going to build the best one we can possibly build and continue to serve the workforce needs of northeastern North Carolina,” said Elam.