BRANCHBURG, NJ - Raritan Valley Community College held a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the groundbreaking of a new Workforce Training Center that will house programs, designed in partnership with local industry, to better serve the community’s economic and employment needs. RVCC expects that construction will begin in October 2015, and that the facility will be completed by the summer of 2016.
Financing for the $10 million facility will include $8 million from the state Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund and $2 million from the State of New Jersey’s Chapter 12 Community College Building Fund. Under the Chapter 12 program, counties issue bonds for the construction project. The state pays half of the cost of repaying the debt service and the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon pay the remaining 50 percent.
Most of the programs that will be moving to the new facility were developed under a $4.6 million grant from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. The Workforce programs Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Technology (Metal-Works fabrication), Certified Nursing Assistant, Cosmetology, Massage Therapy, Environmental Control Technology (including residential and commercial HVAC), Phlebotomy, Exercise Science, and other Allied Health fields.
The College partnered with local industry and business leaders to design and build training programs The goal was to work with the business community and provide the educational resources that foster highly skilled and productive employees.
Partnering with the business community has assisted students in several areas including helping them acclimate to the workforce environment by participating in job shadowing experiences and internships, as well as employment readiness workshops that included resume writing and interviewing practice. Students also have received assistance in job placement.
“This building represents what can happen when leaders of business, government, education, and the workforce come together and map out a blueprint for economic growth and job stability. So far the results have been promising, especially with the two Advanced Manufacturing classes whose students were composed of long-term unemployed workers. All of the graduates in the 2014 class who sought employment found jobs. In the 2015 class, 12 of the 15 students have been placed in positions and three are currently interviewing and are close to being employed. This could not have been possible without the guidance and involvement of our local industry and business partners, who helped develop our programs and then hired our graduates,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.
“It’s only the beginning. The new center will enable us to expand our workforce programs and train students in state-of-the-art facilities designed to simulate a real work environment. We are grateful to our local industry and business partners for their guidance and commitment to employ our graduates; to the state for recognizing the value of investing in workforce training facilities; and to the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon for their continued financial support of the College,” Dr. McDonough continued. “We look forward to continuing our partnerships with local business and industry as we collaborate to build a stronger workforce.”
Half of the building will include double-height areas to accommodate the trade programs in such fields as Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Environmental Control Technology. The other half of the building will be two stories and will include classrooms, offices, and spaces for the personal-care programs in such areas as Cosmetology, Massage Therapy, Phlebotomy, Exercise Science, and other Allied Health fields.