P&HCC’s Advanced Manufacturing program has won the first Rural Community College Alliance (RCCA) Innovation and Access Award for its partnership with Festo Didactic and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3).
“We know we have an outstanding program and outstanding instructors. This national award just validates that for us and our students,” said Dr. Greg Hodges, P&HCC President.
In response to advanced manufacturing employers citing the need for increasingly complex training, P&HCC introduced advanced manufacturing training in Industry 4.0 in partnership with Festo Didactic and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) in 2018 and in 2019 became the first institution in the nation to offer all three levels of training and the first to offer the highest level of Industry 4.0 training.
In June 2020, P&HCC became the first NC3 and Festo Center of Excellence, recognizing P&HCC’s role in driving the future of career and technical education and workforce development. P&HCC now serves as an NC3 Leadership School.
Local employers who have enrolled their staff in this program include Eastman Chemical Company, Blue Ridge Aquaculture, Ten Oaks, and GS Industries.
Since September 2018, P&HCC has awarded 1,455 NC3 Festo Industry 4.0 certifications.
In May, P&HCC led the country in the number of Festo NC3 certifications awarded. Multiple employers in the region now guarantee interviews to anyone completing the certification, including Press Glass, Drake Extrusion, Virginia Glass Products Corporation, Virginia Mirror, and Ten Oaks.
P&HCC’s training ability through its partnership with Festo Didactic and NC3 is integral to the community’s recruitment of advanced manufacturers including Press Glass Inc. that recently added 212 jobs and Crown Holdings Inc. that added 126 jobs paying approximately $50,000/year.
“Congratulations to Dr. Hodges and the Patrick & Henry Community College team on this well-deserved award from Rural Community College Alliance. The RCCA Innovation and Access award amplifies P&HCC efforts to implement Festo/NC3 competency-based Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing certifications that reach all students and are recognized by local industry in our communities. Their efforts are a benchmark for all communities,” said Roger Tadajewski, Executive Director, National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3).
“Festo is extremely proud to partner with Patrick and Henry Community College to help fill the ever growing skills gap in the United States,” said Tony Oran, Vice President of Festo Didactic, North America. “This collaboration with P&HCC and NC3 serves as a model of how partnerships are key to this effort.”