MARTINSVILLE – Patrick Henry Community College is now an official NC3 Leader School. Within three weeks of receiving this national recognition, nearly fifty students have already taken advantage of the opportunities this new designation provides them.
The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) develops and authenticates certification courses that prepare students to enter some of the nation’s fastest-growing industries. With real-time industry data the Coalition collects from a global network of industry experts, NC3 develops programs that meet current and future labor market demands.
“With industries like Press Glass moving into our area and with established companies like Eastman and Arconic constantly innovating, our region needs a steady flow of well-trained technicians,” says Rhonda Hodges, PHCC’s Vice President of Workforce Economic and Community Development. “NC3 keeps our ear to the ground, so to speak, and is a tool in our toolbox as we equip our region’s future workforce.”
Over the summer, two of PHCC’s instructors became certified to teach the Festo Industry 4.0 Certification Program which is the school’s first NC3-supported credential. The Industry 4.0 certification indicates to employers that a job applicant has proven skills in robotics, automation, and human-machine interface and can adeptly handle real-time cloud computing technology and cyber-physical systems. Since classes began in August, 47 students have already passed the national exams to receive the certificate for the first module, Introduction to Industry 4.0.
“Right now, PHCC is the only community college in the state offering the Festo Industry 4.0 Certification Program. Already our students are setting themselves apart among other job seekers,” says PHCC Instructor Daniel Edwards. “With rapid advancements in automation and robotics, and how exclusive these skill sets currently are, I am confident our students will not have any trouble finding jobs when they leave PHCC.”
Festo’s Industry 4.0 credential is just one of many NC3 certified credentials that PHCC could offer. Joining NC3 makes PHCC a part of a network of over 100 different educational and corporate institutions that are working together to prepare students for a new generation of jobs. Snap-On, Trane, Dremel, and Green Lee are some of the industry leaders that are developing training with NC3. College officials say they plan to offer more of these training opportunities soon.
“We are excited to join this extensive network of industry experts,” says Hodges. “For our area’s employers and prospective business investors, having an NC3 Leader School close by can be an attractive advantage. It shows businesses that our area can provide leading-edge training and fill a demand for skilled laborers.”