News - 09/24/2013

MiraCosta College Receives Federal Grant to Start Technology Career Institute in North County San Diego

The Department of Labor has awarded MiraCosta College a $2.75 million federal grant to start a Technology Career Institute (TCI) aimed at filling a growing demand for qualified machinists and industrial technicians in North County. 

The federal grant will help the college develop a comprehensive training facility that will prepare participants – including returning military veterans and the unemployed – for high-skilled, high-paying employment in the manufacturing and technology industries.

"MiraCosta College is committed to serving the needs of our region by preparing students for careers that will allow them to work and live in North County San Diego,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Francisco Rodriguez. “This grant will benefit our entire region by allowing us to provide the training for jobs workers want and local employers need to fill. We are thrilled to be a recipient and eager to begin work on growing our own workforce." 

According to Linda Kurokawa, director of Community Services and lead on this grant, the grant will enable the college to “work with industry to create an accelerated training approach that quickly trains qualified workers, increases student retention rates and connects participants with jobs much more quickly than a traditional training program,” according to a project outline. “Within 12 weeks, (Technology Career Institute) participants will have a credential that will help them find a job and move up a career ladder in their chosen field.”

Targeted industries include high-tech manufacturing, maritime technology, and biotech manufacturing. The new institute will be able to enroll up to 695 participants over the four-year period of the grant.

The Technology Career Institute will expand MiraCosta College’s machinist certificate program and create industry-recognized electronics engineering technician and robotics/automation certificate programs. 

The Machinist Technology Program was launched in March this year and was designed for people seeking fast-paced, high-level training aimed at meeting the growing need for machine operators and programmers in the region. 

MiraCosta College was one of 12 California community colleges sharing more than $29 million in federal grants for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local businesses. The grants were announced Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C., and are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multi-year, nearly $2-billion initiative to expand programs for unemployed workers, particularly those impacted by foreign trade.

“The funds will go to developing critical training programs that will quickly qualify our students to get good-paying jobs in high-demand fields such as health care information technology, aerospace technology and advanced manufacturing,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development division.

MiraCosta College has been working with local industry for years in preparing students for local demands. The college was approached more than two years ago by the National Tooling and Machining Association, the local career center and representatives of the North County manufacturing industry who said there was a strong demand for, but shortage of, qualified machinists. Today’s employees need to have ever-increasing skills in math, blueprint reading, machine operations, and state-of-the-art precision equipment.

Starting salaries for properly trained toolmakers and precision machinists is $14 to $18 per hour.

Collaborating with MiraCosta College in the Technology Career Institute endeavor are the North San Diego Small Business Development Center, Maritime Alliance, San Diego North Economic Development Council, Veterans 360, and the North County Coastal Career Center.

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