Create Part-Time Advanced Manufacturing Training Programs
Creating part-time training programs enables hard-working Americans to upgrade their skills and move into the middle class.

To gain an advanced manufacturing job, many Americans will need to upgrade their skills. Most workers cannot afford to quit their current jobs to go back to school full-time. Instead, part-time programs are needed, so that workers can build upon their current skills while still bringing home a paycheck. Existing programs, such as an associates degree in advanced manufacturing engineering technology, take years to complete on a part-time schedule. Programs could be modeled after Tennessee’s successful part-time training program.  


Oak Ridge Associated Universities offers a one-year, 25-hour-per-week Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Certificate. The training program is run by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored education and research program. Pellissippi State, a local Tennessee community college, administers the training program at its facility.


Through a similar model, community colleges in any state could align their curriculums with national best practices in advanced manufacturing. Creating a similar part-time, one-year certificate could open the middle-class job opportunities in advanced manufacturing to workers who currently have low-wage jobs. Additionally, community colleges could begin to offer their own part-time training programs that allow workers to prepare for an advanced manufacturing certificate while remaining employed. Creating part-time programs would allow hard-working Americans to upgrade their skills and move into the middle class.