Starting this fall, Parkland College is partnering with a leading Midwest apprenticeship program to provide subsidized education that meets local industry demand for skilled employees in high-tech manufacturing.
Parkland's first cohort for the Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program, or ICATT, includes two students and two local companies, Silgan Closures and Litania Sports Group. The three-year program covers students' tuition as they earn the Industrial Technology AAS degree at Parkland and lets students earn apprenticeship wages by working three days per week on the job. The program also covers students’ travel expenses.
Bobbi Scholze, dean of Parkland’s Career and Technical Education division, said today's economics often force students to have to choose between taking available industry work and attending school to upgrade their industry skills. Through ICATT, students can do both.
"It’s earn and learn," she said. "Students will have a built-in job and a college degree once they’re done. Plus, employers and schools aren’t competing for the same students."
Parkland College's 70 hour Industrial Technology program will prepare students to install and maintain the electromechanical, mechanical pneumatic and hydraulic systems used in manufacturing and building facilities. Students will learn electrical power and motors, control systems, pumps, compressors, pneumatics, hydraulics and power transfer devices.
The Chicago-based ICATT contacted Parkland College last spring to support the program’s efforts in downstate Illinois. Parkland then worked with the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. to drum up interest with local employers and pair ICATT's students with supporting companies.
Scholze anticipates growth in the program as more area companies hire fully trained Parkland College graduates armed with high-tech manufacturing skills.
"This is a long-range strategy and investment in the student and in their employment," Scholze said. "It’s a wonderful thing."
Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) is the leading apprenticeship program for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics. It is the largest program fully benchmarked on the German Dual Education System – an approach recognized globally for its combination of company-specific knowledge, theory, and hands-on learning – resulting in highly-trained employees that position companies to embrace technical advances, keep pace with market demands, and harness growth opportunities.
For more information on the ICATT Program at Parkland College, contact CTE Program Manager Aimee Densmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.