BRISTOL TOWNSHIP >> Bucks County Community College, the region’s leader in workforce development training, has officially broken ground on a new Center for Advanced Technologies at the Gene and Marlene Epstein Campus at Lower Bucks.
The 28,000-square-foot building will stand prominently on Veterans Highway (Route 413) in Bristol Township, less than a half mile from I-95, in an area that is already home to many manufacturers.
"This new center will allow us to continue to expand our workforce programs and train future generations of skilled workers, the kind of qualified and dedicated employees that Bucks County’s businesses need to stay vital in the 21st century,” said Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, Bucks County Community College President. “We’re igniting a spark that will inspire people from all walks of life to pursue the education they need to have a career that is enriching for themselves, their families, and the broader community.”
The virtual groundbreaking celebration was marked with a video premiere comprised of remarks from college and county officials – each passing along a ceremonial groundbreaking shovel – and architect’s renderings of the state-of-the-art building. The video can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/SparkBucks.
“Our groundbreaking is only the beginning of Bucks County Community College’s commitment to provide outstanding career training for our county,” said David Breidinger, chair of the college’s board of trustees. “The past year has taught us that traditional classrooms are changing. Students are now taking different paths to succeed, and the new Center for Advanced Technologies is another pathway to success.”
The $9.9 million facility will house the college’s Center for Workforce Development, which partners with businesses to provide customized training, and develops industrial training programs that feed the workforce pipeline. These include high-priority occupations like metalwork, industrial maintenance, robotics and welding, in addition to certification programs like Microsoft Office Technology and Customer Service Specialist, and Bookkeeping with QuickBooks.
Also of critical importance, the Center for Advanced Technologies will provide flexible space that will allow the college to add new programs and reconfigure existing ones as regional workforce needs change.
The need for such training continues to grow, as manufacturing is among the top three industries in Bucks County, with local manufacturers employing more than 28,000 people, or 14% of the workforce. The projected skills gap equates to more than 3,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in Bucks County by 2025, and 2 million nationwide.
To help make such critical training accessible to all members of the community, the Bucks County Community College Foundation has established a dedicated Workforce Development fund, and invites individuals, alumni, and corporate partners to demonstrate their support.
“With this fund, the Center for Workforce Development plans to provide scholarships to students who desire a career in manufacturing but cannot afford the tuition,” said Christina McGinley, the Foundation’s executive director. “It will also help the Center to purchase necessary equipment to expand current programs, start new ones, and ensure that student skills meet industry demands.”