Kenosha, Wis., July 13, 2010 – The launch of the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) represents a move forward for public/private training partnerships and the next step in technical training in the U.S. What started as collaboration between one manufacturer and a single technical college today incorporates 25 advanced technical education centers, community colleges and manufacturer-sponsored training programs.
NC3 was established to facilitate the development of partnerships between industry and educational institutions. In that capacity the organization provides comprehensive curriculum development and access to skill-standard certifications. The curriculum is developed collaboratively with industry experts and educators; the certifications validate skill sets required to meet performance standards.
"NC3 was born of the need for advanced technical training in divergent industries ranging from wind power and power generation to aerospace and transportation," said Roger Tadajewski, executive director, NC3. "Industries and manufacturers have been asking for this training on a piecemeal basis. Now through NC3 we're able to provide a growing library of curriculum offerings that are flexible and will remain current."
NC3 has a national office located at Gateway Technical College's Horizon Center for Transportation Technology in Kenosha, Wis.
In addition to partnering with schools, NC3 also works with associations to develop industry-specific training. The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is an example of such a connection. The Stevens Point, Wis.-based organization is working with NC3 to develop training for a myriad of “green” skills from installation of solar panels and small wind turbines on homes to creating programs to teach the techniques necessary for structural assessment.
NC3 is the outgrowth of training efforts launched by Snap-on, Inc., dating back to the 1960s. The company's work in diagnostics, the study of electrical systems in vehicles, spurred development of training alliances around the country. From that beginning, the company started the certification center effort in 2007 by teaming with Gateway to create a diagnostics training and certification center. Gateway and Oklahoma-based Francis Tuttle Technology Center were early contributors to the certification center model.
"The NC3 goal is the development of education certification standards that can be applied in a variety of industries," said Tadajewski. "We want to create portable certifications that can flex and grow. Nothing in technology stays the same for long, so our certification program must mirror that."
Current certification curriculum includes diagnostics, diesel engines, wheel service and vehicle information management, multimeters and torque. Fields targeted for additional curriculum development include advanced propulsion systems, aviation and renewable energy.
The NC3 strategy is to encourage established "leadership" schools to work with other schools and industrial partners in their region to develop and implement new certifications. The "train-the-trainer" effort is designed to provide standardized training and guidance to new institutions as they come on board. Additionally, the organization is designed to foster improved communication and idea sharing across the network at all levels from student to instructor to administrators.
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