Front Range Community College, located in Longmont, is gearing up to open another branch in its Center for Integrated Manufacturing building (CIM). This facility and the degree programs conducted inside expand upon the college’s existing curriculum with additional programs centered on automation, machining, and manufacturing.
This 27,000 square-foot space provides the training ground to help Colorado residents fast-track workforce training that offers stable work and a great income. George Newman, the program’s director, explains, “We have four programs here and, as far as we know, it’s the only training and education center in Colorado that has four manufacturing programs in one spot.”
Manufacturing facilities around Colorado struggle to fill positions with skilled, reliable employees because there is just such a shortage in the workforce. FRCC now is offering more opportunities, for a very affordable price, so that the Front Range community has alternative options to expensive four-year degrees that don’t always guarantee immediate work and steady income.
“Automation was a critical need, and they couldn’t find people at any price,” said Newman. FRCC offers the programs Optics Technology, Precision Machining Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Automation and Engineering Technology to help both Colorado students and its community.
Students can come for one year and earn a certificate, then enter the workforce or, they can stay for an additional year and get an associates degree. The machining program has been available since 2014 and has trained over 600 machinists. The three new programs are slated to begin in just a few weeks and have students currently enrolled.
Automation, machining technology, optics, and electronics are used in almost everything we touch in our modern environments. From design to cutting to precision to implementation, students learn about and work with materials from start to finish.
Think of a box of pasta or a camera lens or even something as simple as a refreshing Colorado craft beer. Each item is created by a machinist, an optics technician, an engineer, and produced through automation. These certificate and degree programs at FRCC provide students the opportunity to fill these much needed roles in our society that are only becoming more essential as we continue to rely on technology.
Entry level positions for most of these jobs start anywhere from $20 to $30 an hour, with the ability to make much more depending on the field. Grants and private donations from around the state contributed about half of the financial picture to provide trainers and other classroom essentials. Ball Aerospace even contributed $50,000 to scholarships.
These four programs offer Coloradans the chance to gain valuable experience in a field with secure jobs and high salaries. FRCC is looking to set people up from the get go with programs that add value to both the students’ lives and the communities’ livelihoods.