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BRCC wins $485,000 grant for training upgrades

The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded Blue Ridge Community College a $485,000 Mid Skills grant to upgrade advanced manufacturing training in Henderson and Transylvania counties.

This state-of-the-art training is directly tied to gaps in the workforce identified by local manufacturers.
"Advanced manufacturing workers need to be versed in a wide range of technical fields including engineering, automation, machining, welding as well as the interpersonal skills required for success in today's fast-paced, team-oriented work environments," said BRCC President Molly A. Parkhill.
"Employers in Henderson and Transylvania counties are hiring and estimate they will need more than 1,000 skilled workers in the next five years. Blue Ridge's ongoing advanced manufacturing training upgrade will strengthen economic and workforce development in Henderson and Transylvania counties and meet the rapidly changing needs of tomorrow's workforce."

With support from a $200,000 start-up grant from Golden LEAF Foundation in 2012, BRCC has already completed significant upgrades to its advanced manufacturing offerings. It has:

• Launched the Mechatronics Engineering Technology associate degree program in 2012 and negotiated partnerships with four-year colleges to allow Blue Ridge students to continue their engineering training at the bachelor's degree-level.
• Invested more than $480,000 for advanced manufacturing equipment for a simulated manufacturing environment and a dedicated Programmable Logic Controller lab.
• Added fluid handling processes to its advanced manufacturing offerings to meet the needs of craft brewing manufacturers Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues, as well as the area's current chemical and packing manufacturers.
• Collaborated with Transylvania and Henderson County Public Schools to offer mechatronics courses at Brevard High School and Balfour High School.
The new Mid Skills Grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation will enable BRCC to continue its advanced manufacturing upgrade by enhancing the Computer Integrated Machining labs at the Henderson County Campus and Brevard High School in Transylvania County.