Stakeholders, state officials, community leaders, professors, and students gathered at 10am EST in the Student Community Center of the County College of Morris (CCM) to celebrate the official ground breaking for the new Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center (AM+E Center). More than a newly designed structure, the progress of this facility symbolizes a promise to provide much-needed educational opportunities that will enhance NJ’s economy and commemorate the college’s 50th anniversary.
According to state legislated research, nearly 58% of the current workforce in advanced manufacturing is aged 45 and over. The industry provides 6.7% of annual wages, and the advanced engineering cluster specifically contributed about 6.8% of all output in 2016. The state does not suffer from a challenge of available positions, rather it suffers from a limited selection of talent pools made of skilled workers carrying the necessary certifications and training.
Moreover, as technology evolves and manufacturing methodologies change alongside innovative developments, CCM is responding by closely aligning their curriculum with the needs of the corporate and manufacturing community in the county and the state. Since the college developed its robust engineering department, enrollment has increased significantly. The new AM+E Center will allow the college to expand its program even further - becoming a pioneer in providing advanced manufacturing training and certification opportunities.
Hands-on learning will be made possible through the estimated $11.1 million, 13,775 sf pre-engineered facility. The spaces are designed to encourage simultaneous hands-on learning experiences, collaboration among students and professors, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Featured spaces include: a manufacturing prototyping lab, advance product prototyping lab, automation and control/robotics/emerging technology, quality control/measurement lab, a 3D printer room, welding lab, materials testing lab, electronics lab, sheet metal lab, makerspace areas, traditional classrooms, CAD/computer lab, general purpose lab/lecture hall, and administrative and support spaces. USA Architects has worked closely with the college to ensure that the facility will echo the visions of all stakeholders involved. Moreover, this building will be able to expand for future needs - spaces have been designed to adapt and remain flexible as unforeseen needs of the program progress.
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