Several leaders behind Harper College's new campaign to help replenish the pipeline of skilled manufacturing labor are headed to Washington, D.C., to discuss their efforts.
Harper President Ken Ender, National Pizza and Foods COO Mike Alagna and Wheeling High School Principal Lazaro Lopez will speak Wednesday morning at a meeting of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee in the U.S. Capitol Building.
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Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, invited the group to share elements of the new Advanced Manufacturing program Harper will launch this fall. The innovative job training and certification program aims to help workers develop the skills they need to find employment in their communities and fill critical job openings.
"Harper Community College's Advanced Manufacturing Degree and Training Program is a great example of an innovative partnership that is putting people back to work and also filling critical shortages at growing businesses and manufacturers," Durbin said in a statement. "By teaming up with local job creators and other nearby educational institutions, this program helps determined workers develop the skills they need to find employment in their community, while also spurring local economic development.
"I welcome the program's representatives to Washington and I look forward to hearing them share their experience to help apply their successful practices in communities across the country."
Developed in close partnership with regional manufacturers, students in Harper's new program can earn industry-endorsed skills certificates in less than a year; take part in a paid internship with one of 54 manufacturing partners; and receive additional certificates in four general areas that seamlessly merge into a pathway for associates and bachelor degrees.