Meeting the Needs of Students and Employers
Manufacturing is a vital part of the Morris County economy, but meeting the need for skilled employees is challenging as retirements take place and new demands develop in that industry. To meet that need and to provide students with good-paying career options, County College of Morris (CCM) has developed the plans for a regional Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Center that will support educating a pipeline of graduates and training existing employees to meet evolving requirements.
The 31,500-square-foot facility will include two electronic labs, two prototyping labs, two computer labs, a 3D printing room, an analysis lab, an automation and controls/robotics/emerging technologies lab, a measuring and materials testing lab, a welding lab, maker space, conference rooms, classrooms and offices. The center is designed to allow faculty, students and industry partners to work collaboratively in an advanced environment utilizing state-of-the-art technology. Serving as architect for the project is USA Architects of Somerville.
CCM plans to break ground in the fall for the $10 million facility, which will be constructed near the building it owns at 675 Route 10 East. Funding for the center’s construction is being provided by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the state and private donors.
“CCM is committed to the communities we serve throughout Northwest New Jersey and is a dedicated partner in ensuring companies have a pipeline of skilled professionals,” says Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM. “Our business is to transform lives through education and in doing so transform communities by serving as an economic engine. A central part of our mission is to assist with attracting new businesses and retaining existing ones, and CCM is proud to serve Morris County and beyond with this new facility.”
The manufacturing industry in Morris County serves multiple sectors including pharmaceuticals, metals, plastics, production, technology and scientific instrumentation, according to the Morris County Economic Development Corporation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that median annual wages in manufacturing tend to be higher than the median for all industries. For example, the bureau reports that in 2017 industrial engineers and mechanical engineers were earning a median salary of $85,880.
Construction of the new facility will free up space in the college’s current engineering and manufacturing lab, which will allow for the construction of The Paragano Family Foundation Medical Simulation Center. Through the CCM Foundation’s “Forward” Campaign, the Paragano Family Foundation provided a leadership gift of $325,000 to support the initiative. Along with development of that center, CCM will be expanding its healthcare programs.
Plans for the two centers were developed following a series of roundtable meetings by college officials with engineering, manufacturing and healthcare facilities, the Freeholders, the Morris County Economic Development Corporation and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.