Bennington Community College of Vermont, state labor department offer free CPT course

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BENNINGTON — A group of local businesses, the Vermont Department of Labor, and the Community College of Vermont are teaming up to offer a Certified Production Technician certificate program at the Bennington campus.

Thanks to a federal TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) grant from the Department of Labor, the college is able to offer the program, which includes four classes, free of charge.

The coursework includes two classes this fall, starting on Sept. 21, and two in the spring. The four classes are Safety, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Processes and Production, and Maintenance Awareness. Each class runs for 15 hours, for 60 total in-class hours. Michael Keough, CCV's business and community outreach manager, explained that each week will include three hours of in-class training, and three to six hours of homework. "You learn in class, you become a master at home," he said.

"The class is the first step in establishing a manufacturing pathway to help advanced manufacturers close a workforce gap and to help individuals receive the necessary training to fill open positions," said CCV's director of marketing and communications, Janette Shaffer, "Courses like the CPT help workers develop their careers by teaching specialized skills that Vermont advanced manufacturers are looking for in their new employees."

Keough said anyone who takes the course, which is open to both those who are looking for jobs in manufacturing and those who are experienced in the field and want to fine-tune their skill sets, will have the opportunity to interview with a local manufacturer half-way through the program. Businesses working with CCV and the DOL on this program include K&E Plastics Inc., J.B.M. Sherman Carmel, Inc., and G.S. Precision, Inc.

"K&E's business contract manufacturing of machined plastic parts is a billion dollar a year business and growing," said K&E Plastics President Eric Broderson. "We have the production floor space and the expertise to continue our growth, but we also need qualified employees to aid us in our growth. K&E feels that the Certified Production Technician program will be a great tool for us in our need for future employment and it is free to students. K&E looks forward to working with the CPT program and meeting the students."

CPT is one of the most widely accepted manufacturing certifications across the country. According to the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, "The purpose of the Certified Production Technician program is to recognize through certification individuals who demonstrate mastery of the core competencies of manufacturing production at the front-line (entry-level through front-line supervisor) through successful completion of the certification assessments. The goal of the CPT certification program is to raise the level of performance of production workers both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company's productivity and competitiveness."

Keough described the program as a win-win, as it not only provides opportunities for the students, but also provides employers with a pool of qualified, dedicated potential employees. He said he hopes the success of the program, which is nearing its first anniversary state-wide, will inspire more businesses to get involved.

"The projected job openings within this region clearly supports the need for strong skill development preparing Vermonters for careers in manufacturing occupations," said Wendy Morse, Bennington regional manager at the Vermont Department of Labor, "The Vermont Department of Labor and our regional office staff members are very pleased to be part of this collaboration that will help Vermont employers with workforce needs."

Those interested in enrolling in the class can apply through the Vermont Department of Labor's Career Resource Center at 200 Veterans Memorial Dr., Bennington, VT 05201 or by calling 802-447-2874. Applications are being accepted through Friday, September 16.

Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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