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LCC receives $40,000 GM grant aimed at augmenting workforce

LANSING – General Motors announced Friday that it is awarding a $40,000 grant to Lansing Community College to allow the school to study ways more students can obtain the credentials needed to find jobs with the automaker.

“We already have a very strong historical partnership with GM, but what it does, it allows us to be more strategically intentional,” said LCC President Steve Robinson. “What training are we doing to develop ourselves? And it also allows our parents to enter the structure.”

LCC was one of seven community colleges nationwide to receive a $40,000 GM grant administered by the American Association of Community Colleges, according to a press release. The grant will enable LCC to conduct a year-long workforce development study on ways to offer advanced manufacturing credentials to LCC students.

“GM and Lansing (Community College) have had tremendous success over the years with LCC graduates working at all of our sites in Lansing,” Satya Veerapaneni, executive director of GM Lansing Delta Township Plant, said at a conference. press at the plant on Friday. “How do we take the partnership and the advantage we get with the LCC graduates who are helping us? What we want to do is continue this partnership to the next level.”

The grant will provide an opportunity for LCC officials to meet with GM leaders to learn about the company’s needs because technology is constantly evolving and future workers will need new and advanced skills to help produce new electric vehicles.

Robinson said LCC faculty and staff need to tour GM facilities and learn more about new equipment, systems and technologies so the school can train students who will eventually go to work at GM.

GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly alone employs 2,500 people, including “hundreds” of LCC graduates, according to GM spokesman Eric Lacy.

Robinson, who prided himself on owning a Buick and coming from a working GM family, said LCC has had a relationship with GM since the school was founded in 1957. The grant and relationship with GM enable LCC to help rapidly increase pipeline of talent moving from community college to GM.

About 10 LCC students are currently taking part in apprenticeships with GMs, said Cathy Wilhm, dean of technical careers at LCC.

“We are thrilled to work with AACC and lend our support to this program that will help integrate advanced manufacturing credentials at community colleges nationwide,” Terry Rhadigan, vice president of corporate giving at GM, said in a news release. “In the automotive industry and beyond, manufacturing technology is becoming more advanced and it is increasingly important to equip the current and future workforce with the skills and training they need to be successful in modern manufacturing careers.”

Each of the seven select colleges is located near GM facilities. Other community colleges receiving grants include Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, Columbia State Community College in Tennessee, Owens Community College in Ohio, Johnson County Community College in Kansas, St. Charles Community College in Missouri and Imperial Valley Community College in California.

Additionally, the AACC will provide direct technical assistance to LCC and each selected community college and assist community colleges nationwide in increasing advanced manufacturing skills training and “elevate promising and best practices in program design and delivery for replication, adaptation and scaling,” according to the press release.

“This is a great opportunity for us to sit down with GM, their engineers, their designers, everything, to find out what those skills are that they need,” Wilhm said. “Technology is changing rapidly.”

Contact Mark Johnson at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkJohnson.

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