A local community college started a brand-new partnership in hopes that apprentices fill spots at local manufacturers.

The Erie County Community College has recently started a computer numeric controlled operator program with multiple local manufacturing plants. County Executive Brenton Davis, State Senator Dan Laughlin, and James Grunke the CEO of Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP), took a tour of the micro mold facility.

“This was to highlight how the chamber works with their group, elected officials, private business and the community college — how we’re really going to fill that workforce need,” said Dr. Chris Gray, President of the Erie County Community College.

The CNC program has nine courses and can be completed in as little as three semesters.

“It’s an educational backbone here. The need to get these folks trained and able to enter the workforce. So, it’s good to have a partnership between the industry and higher Ed. I think this is a prime example of that,” said State Senator Dan Laughlin.

Senator Laughlin said he has a personal connection to this industry and told us why this partnership is important to him.

“When I got out of high school, college wasn’t really the path that I was on. So, I was able to go to the skill center,” Laughlin explained. “As a 19-year-old kid, I was earning a family’s sustaining wage back then, got my footing in life and I went on to become a state senator.”

“So really the key is to get connected, get work-based experiences, come out do a job shadow, do a tour, understand what those jobs, understand the excitement of what these companies are doing and you may want to be a part of it,” Dr. Gray went on to say.

Graduates of the program can be competitive in obtaining entry-level positions that lead to careers in advanced manufacturing.