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EAC receives $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor

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EAC receives $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College was recently awarded a $2.1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Program that will fund the College’s intercollegiate “Arizona Regional Advanced Manufacturing Professional Upgrade Project.” Other partner colleges receiving funds from this grant include Central Arizona College, Gateway Community College, and Estrella Mountain College. The total amount of funding for all four schools equals $10 million.

According to EAC grants director, Eldon Woodall, this grant will be used to:

• fund training programs that meet advanced manufacturing industry needs.

• accelerate learning by using strategies that include competency based education, prior learning assessments, and engagement with industry.

• strengthen online and technology-supported learning.

• strengthen and refine career pathways leading to certificates and advanced degrees.

The grant will provide for a new Advanced Manufacturing Technician Associate of Applied Science degree and certificate and will enhance the College’s Welding, Electrical Instrumentation, Machine, and CAD technology programs by offering industry recognized certifications from the National Association of Manufacturing and National Institute for Metalworking Skills; and will fund a new FAB LAB— a manufacturing lab equipped with an array of flexible, high-tech computer aided machines with the capability of fabricating “almost anything” ­-that will be open for students as well as community members to use.

“This grant will enhance our current programs by helping us to upgrade equipment, add online and hybrid instruction, provide industry-endorsed foundational and soft skills training, develop stacked and latticed academic and industry recognized certificates and degrees that lead to skilled manufacturing jobs in Arizona and that articulate to other degree programs,” said Woodall. “So our students and our community will benefit greatly now and into the future,” Woodall said.

The College also plans to hire a part-time career navigator to provide academic and career guidance to Industrial Technology Education (ITE) students to help them through graduation and find employment. In addition, Arizona Workforce Connection will employ an additional part-time person with grant funds to help students with resume building, interviewing skills, job search skills, dress for success skills, and how to keep a job once they have the necessary employment skills.

“We will be working with industry and community partners,” said Woodall. “Locally, partners include Sun Pumps, Open Loop Energy, Gila Institute for Technology, the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, and Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization. Other potential partners are being identified.”

Another portion of the grant will be used to upgrade the College’s ITE Building to provide space for the new FAB LAB. EAC’s FAB LAB will be chartered by MIT and will become part of a global FAB LAB system allowing students to connect with labs in Europe, South America, Australia, and other places throughout the world. The lab is expected to be completed by January 2016, and will be one of only three in the state: EAC, Central Arizona College, and the Southwest Skills Center at Estrella Mountain Community College.

For more information about the new grant contact the ITE division chair, Brian Coppola at (928) 428-8243 or by e-mail at