When U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris visited the Newton DMACC campus last week, he announced that all of Iowa’s community colleges would be sharing a $13 million federal grant to be distributed through the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing consortium, of which Newton DMACC is a member.
Kim Didier, executive director of DMACC Business Resources, said she was unsure how much of that grant would be coming to the Newton DMACC campus, but that a major portion of their share would be used in the welding and industrial maintenance program.
One of the items in the Newton DMACC budget is a virtual welding simulator, Didier said. The students can put on a welding helmet which is in fact a virtual reality projection, allowing the students to gain a very realistic welding experience, receiving direct and immediate feedback without using any materials.
A portion of the grant also will be used to launch a state-wide marketing campaign to encourage students to consider manufacturing as a viable career opportunity. Each community college will use a portion of their grant for regional marketing as well.
In addition, students will be able to test for the American Welding Society certificates, a benchmark that companies such as Vermeer look for when hiring.
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