By James Lawson
Gateway Technical College, endeavoring to help college educators prepare students with industry-specific skills and certifications to improve their job readiness, is hosting its fourth annual National Coalition of Certification Center Leadership summit.
The first sessions started for some 270 college administrators and instructors Wednesday evening and will continue with workshops, field trips and other sessions Thursday.
They include workshops on leadership development, aviation, automotive, HVAC energy certification programs, transportation and manufacturing certification workshops.
Featured speakers include Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and John Richman, president of North Dakota State College of Science.
Representatives from Kenosha’s Snap-on Inc., maker of professional tools and equipment, and Trane, an international air conditioning and heating services company, will instruct sessions where they help the educators learn what skills and information students need to know in order to improve their job readiness.
The program is designed to help administrators and educators establish or fine tune their technical education degree programs.
“We do it because we want the faculty to have the latest information in these industries,” said Debbie Davidson, Gateway’s vice president of workforce and economic development.
“This is Snap-on saying, ‘We have a diagnostic tool, and we want students to know how to use it.’ Snap-on has trained Gateway’s instructors; now we will train other instructors how to instruct their students. You can say this is ‘Train the trainer.’”
Two-year colleges that adopt the programs will be able to prepare students with industry certification. The certificates are imbedded in the degree program, Davidson said.
Students who learn the latest industry techniques and information will have an advantage over other graduates who do not have the certification.
The goal is to design a nationwide industry specific certification program.
“The philosophy is to align with the profession so students learn the newest things about a particular industry,” Davidson said. “For example, an auto technician not only learns the fundamentals, but how to use a diagnostic tool.”
She added, “These classes are always hands-on, but this takes it to another level.”
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