Raritan Valley Community College ushered in a new era of hands-on learning with the official opening of the College’s Workforce Training Center (WTC) at its Branchburg campus.
The 47,000 square foot building houses programs, designed in partnership with local industry, to better serve the community’s economic and employment needs. The facility will enable the College to house all its career training programs under one roof including Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Technology (metal-works fabrication), Cosmetology, Esthetics (skincare), Environmental Control Technology, and Commercial Energy Management.
Financing for the $11.5 million facility includes $8 million from the state Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund—which requires no College or local match—and $3.5 million from the State of New Jersey’s Chapter 12 Community College Building Fund. Under the Chapter 12 program, counties issue bonds for the construction project. The state pays half of the cost of repaying the debt service and the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon pay the remaining 50 percent.
“Today is a turning point in the history of RVCC. The College, which has long been celebrated for its academic transfer programs, is now leading the way in providing a state-of-the-art facility for students to train for careers in some of the most sought-after occupations. Our commitment to career training has been a collaborative effort, bringing together leaders in industry and higher education to develop programs that will prepare students to thrive and excel in today’s competitive workforce. The partnership ensures that our students will graduate with the high level of training and real-work experience that local employers are seeking,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.
The WTC facility, which incorporates prefabricated construction design methods, was designed by SSP Architectural Group of Bridgewater. Half of the building includes double-height areas to accommodate the trade programs in such fields as Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Environmental Control Technology and Commercial Energy Management. The other half of the building is two stories and includes modern classrooms for professional and corporate training; offices for staff and faculty; a working salon area for the Cosmetology and Esthetics programs; a student lounge; and the Small Business Development Center.
The WTC’s training areas and shops have been carefully designed to help students succeed. The Automotive Technology shop is equipped with the latest curriculum, tools and diagnostic equipment from Snap On, Fiat Chrysler and Subaru to train students to become Auto Technicians. The new space boasts five automotive lifts and a front-end suspension bay, as well as real demonstration engines and electrical trainers. Courses in the 36-credit Automotive Technology Certificate program prepare students to take the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification test.
The Advanced Manufacturing Machines, 3D printing and welding labs expertly prepare students to meet the regional employment demand for entry-level and advanced skilled machinists. The machine training lab is equipped with Haas CNC machines, including four HAAS control simulators, one turning center, and one milling center. In addition, industry skill demands are met through training on two Bridgeport style mills, two engine lathes, two surface grinders, a vertical and a horizontal band saw, an optical comparator and other basic machinery. Graduates of the 12-month CNC Production Technician program receive their industry recognized NIMS certifications and OSHA10 card.
The Environmental Control Technology and Commercial Energy Management Technology (CEM-Tech), shops, which will soon be completed, will feature modern testers, instrumentation and equipment for students to learn and develop technical know-how in residential and commercial HVAC, Energy Auditing, Building Automation and Building Commissioning/Retro-commissioning. Students will work with trainers and the latest tools used in the industry for diagnosing and repairing malfunctioning HVAC/R equipment and energy systems in buildings.
Students in the new CEM-Tech program will train to become technicians responsible for maintaining and optimizing the performance of energy management systems in commercial buildings. Students in the Environmental Control programs train to become service technicians, installers or designers of residential and/or commercial equipment in the air conditioning, refrigeration and heating field.
The WTC also offers Protégé, a working salon and spa for Cosmetology and Esthetics students to master their skills. The salon offers the latest color brands and equipment, as well as a beauty bar designed for hair blowouts using the Freestylist Support System, a weightless blow-dry system, and express services such as mini facials and eye treatments using products that have been derived from the sea. The facility gives Cosmetology students the opportunity to learn the most contemporary haircutting and styling techniques, fashion-forward color trends and skin care regimens. Spa and salon services are also available by appointment to help students improve their business, retail and interpersonal skills. The spa has four treatment areas and electrotherapy machines. Graduates of both programs take the NJ state board exam to receive their state license.
The Small Business Development Center provides expert business counseling, at no-cost, to established small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. The SBDC assists entrepreneurs in starting or expanding a small business in all industries, including technology, manufacturing, retail, service and wholesale, as well as international trade. Each year, the Center counsels over 400 clients in close to 1,000 counseling sessions and also trains 900 clients.
The WTC’s corporate and professional development offerings have expanded significantly to include the most in-demand industry credentials and nationally recognized certifications. The facility’s three technology labs, which will soon be completed, will enable more than 90 individual students or corporate teams to gain critical skills from expert instructors and industry-driven curriculum.
The professional and corporate training at the WTC includes the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Basic Skills Workforce Training Program and the Ready To Work Grant Training Program. In partnership with the NJ Community College Workforce Consortium, these granted-funded programs offer corporate customized training and professional development courses to employers and workers—at no tuition cost—from Somerset and Hunterdon County businesses. Training also can be delivered on-site at a company’s location.
International Transfer Agreements Enhance Educational Opportunities for RVCC Graduates
In keeping with its commitment to provide enhanced educational opportunities for its students, Raritan Valley Community College has signed several international transfer agreements with four-year colleges in Europe. These agreements expand transfer options for graduates, enabling them to experience all of the advantages of studying abroad.
In recent months, RVCC has signed two new agreements with colleges in the United Kingdom—the University of the West of England and the University of Lincoln in Lincolnshire. These agreements join with others signed in the past few years, including with The American University of Paris and the University of Greenwich in London.
The agreement with the University of the West of England, Bristol, signed this past winter, enables students who complete their Associate Degree from RVCC to seamlessly transfer to the University to complete their Baccalaureate Degree. The far-reaching agreement enables all RVCC students, regardless of major, who are enrolled in an Associate Degree program and maintain the requisite GPA, to continue their studies at the British university.
The agreement with the University of Lincoln, which was signed last fall, enables students who receive an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts – Social Science Option from RVCC to seamlessly transfer into the level two of the BSc (Hons) Psychology program at Lincoln. As an added benefit, RVCC students transferring to Lincoln receive a 20 percent discount off tuition for each year of study at the University.
“We are absolutely delighted to have secured this agreement with Raritan Valley,” Professor Tim Hodgson, Head of School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, said when the agreement was signed. “We look forward to welcoming students from Raritan to our campus in the heart of a beautiful historic English cathedral city and developing links with faculty members in the US.”
In August 2013 RVCC signed its first international agreement with the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom, paving the way for RVCC graduates to seamlessly transfer to the London-based university that educates students from over 140 countries. The agreement gives RVCC graduates the opportunity to study in London for two years and earn a degree in such subject areas as business, liberal arts, computing and math.
RVCC continued to expand its global reach in October 2013 with the signing of a transfer agreement with The American University of Paris (AUP), guaranteeing junior status to RVCC graduates with Associate of Arts and Science degrees. The agreement is designed for RVCC graduates who are interested in transferring to AUP programs in such areas as art history, comparative literature, computer science, literary studies, entrepreneurship, film studies, history, psychology, global communication, international business administration, philosophy, politics and economics, international economics, and international finance. All classes are taught in English.
“Studying abroad has been a great experience,” said Cody Noble, who graduated from RVCC in 2014 and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies at The American University of Paris. “I’ve met a variety of students from around the world including China, Lebanon, Egypt and of course France. As such, the experience has allowed me to learn about things from outside the US and to hear new perspectives as well as share my own.”
With the RVCC-AUP agreement in place, “Thankfully, all of my credits transferred with me to AUP. This has given me a great leg-up over some of my fellow classmates who have had to retake certain classes including math and English,” Noble continued.
For additional information about RVCC’s international transfer agreements, contact Paul Michaud, RVCC’s Director of Transfer & Career Services, 908-526-1200, ext. 8333.
RVCC Student Honored as 2017 Newman Civic Fellow
Kristine Bulava of Basking Ridge, a Business Administration major at Raritan Valley Community College, has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Bulava is one of 273 students from across the country selected for the honor.
“Kristine Bulava is a true community and campus leader who is passionate about sustainability, the environment and innovation. As Vice President of Scholarship and Service for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, she has organized fundraising events for the hungry and displaced. While serving as President of RVCC’s Enactus club, an international entrepreneurial-based organization, she taught disadvantaged youth how to operate a small business and offered financial seminars and college completion workshops. One of Kristine’s most successful projects is Plant 2 End Hunger, which provides a sustainable food source for those in need through a local community garden. Kristine helped produce two tons of food last year, a 17 percent increase over last year’s yield,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.
Bulava, who left her home in Latvia three years ago to work as an au pair in the US, has learned about a hydroponic system—an innovative way to grow a sustainable food source—and secured a mini grant from Unilever and the RVCC Foundation to pursue training in hydroponics. Her goal is to use her education to create sustainable change and spearhead the hydroponic initiative to teach people how to feed themselves.
As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Bulava will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship. “The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change. We are thrilled to welcome this group of 273 exemplary students as the first cohort to participate in this new model.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth. Newman was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides participants with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.
Based in Boston, Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life. For more information, visit http://www.compact.org.
Categories: Public 2-Year Schools