Training the Next Generation

Tulsa Community College is committed to providing training for in-demand careers. In Tulsa, those careers are in aerospace, including aerospace manufacturing and aviation; machinery and electrical equipment manufacturing and transportation; and distribution and logistics, according to the Tulsa Regional Chamber website.

New grants from the Department of Labor are funding training at TCC in these highly specialized areas. The grants provide educational training programs that prepare workers for the manufacturing, transportation, logistics and/or aerospace industries.

The national push to produce skilled workers for these industries is huge because many employees are reaching retirement age. TCC has secured an Advanced Manufacturing and Related Pathways project that is funded by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program.

Beth Wild is TAACCCT Program Director at TCC. She said the goal is to provide regional educational and career pathways for 1,000 participants to enter into and advance within these specific industries. This is being accomplished by building capacity within TCC’s related academic programs.

Some of the core elements of the grant are:

  • Stacked and latticed credentials
  • Online and technology-enabled learning
  • Transferability and articulation
  • Strategic alignment

She said the grant provides for outreach, faculty and staff salaries, educational and instructor materials, instructor certifications, and outreach events, such as the Demand Driven Training for the 21st Century Symposium. The symposium was held in the fall and focused on nationally-recognized, industry-endorsed, portable credentials in manufacturing and transportation and logistics.

According to the TAACCCT website, “TAACCCT Grant Program provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations.”

The Advanced Manufacturing and Related Pathways project will supplement and expand the National Aviation Consortium’s academic programming and activities at Tulsa Community College.

TCC NAC is an expansive public-private partnership that addresses the challenge of creating a skilled aviation and aerospace workforce. NAC recognizes aviation employers as the central driving force in identifying competencies needed by workers and in standardizing credentials of value. Funded with support from the U.S. Department of Labor, NAC has selected TCC as a partner, with other community college partners in Kansas, Indiana, North Carolina and Washington.

“These colleges and their community partners are working to provide manufacturers with well-trained, entry-level workers who can demonstrate critical skills and be immediately productive in the workplace,” said Donald Freeland, Program Director NAC.

Wild said together, both programs focus on academic programming and activities for the specific industries of aviation manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, and transportation and logistics, and their related occupations.

The TCC NAC Program takes 12 weeks, and it offers students the opportunity to develop skills they need to enter the aerospace workforce. Graduates receive assistance in job placement, and will earn nationally portable, industry-drive certifications including:

  • National Career Readiness Certification
  • Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certification
  • Aviation Manufacturing Credentials (certificate options)

Dozens of employers are partners with TCC NAC, and they come from various areas throughout the Tulsa region, including Broken Arrow, Coweta, Owasso, Bristow, Sapulpa, Depew and more. TCC NAC also has partnerships with organizations and government agencies, such as Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Tulsa Metro Chamber and Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Corporation.