NextFlex and Evergreen Valley College launch regional workforce development initiative

After months of work, a group of high-visibility stakeholders in workforce development in Silicon Valley gathered at Evergreen Valley College (EVC) to kick off the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) pathway .

Driven by NextFlex and EVC, this highly innovative career-centered program unites the critical need for a talented labor pool with the latest curriculum elements and close engagement of leading Silicon Valley employers. Industry partners include Cobham, Dupont, Jabil, Green Circuits, BD Bioscience, and Flex Interconnect and several others.

EVC’s AMT is a two-year program. In the first year, students focus on foundational skills to prepare for technician-level work, with the opportunity to earn the technician certification. The second year will feature mechanical, electrical and materials tracks, leading to technologist certification.

Vice Mayor Jones, left, presents San Jose City Council Commendation to Dean Maniphone Dickerson, EVC.

Speaking at the event were California Assemblymember Kansen Chu; San Jose Vice Mayor Chappie Jones; California Assistant Secretary of Labor John Dunn; San Jose Evergreen Community College District Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships Dr. William Watson; and EVC Dean of Business and Workforce Development Dr. Maniphone Dickerson.

Vice Mayor Jones surprised Dean Dickerson with a commendation from the San Jose City Council, recognizing her dedication to leading the College’s pioneering regional workforce development program.

Following the ceremony, President Aytch participated in a lively panel discussion with Kelli Dutra of Cobham and Joe O’Neill of Green Circuits.

A selection of quotes from the event:

EVC President Keith Aytch: Our workforce commitment has to go beyond EMT, nursing, and law enforcement. We live in one of the richest valleys in the world and we need to provide job opportunities for our students so they can stay here and be able to buy a home and live and support their families. That’s why this relationship with the manufacturing community is so important.  Evergreen Community College is about opportunity, equity and social justice. Of our ten thousand students, 7,000 are working and many are also on financial aid. So we have a moral obligation to improve every opportunity for our students to find a living wage and a career track.

Assemblymember Kansen Chu: We want to make sure San Jose can grow with more manufacturing capacity and workplaces. We love the manufacturing sector because it not only brings capital investment to the region, but it fosters a well-paid workforce settling down in the area.  

Vice Mayor Chappie Jones: We see this as a model of successful public-private partnership. We’re excited about all the innovation and education focused on the creation of a deep and diverse workforce. The AMT program will benefit residents, educational institutions, businesses and will help grow our economy.

Panelists, from left: Dr. Keith Aytch, EVC; Kelli Dutra, Cobham; Joe O’Reilly, Green Circuits

Joe O’Neill, Green Circuits: The workforce shortage is very real for manufacturers. It affects my day to day life. The AMT program gives us a great opportunity to address it short-term and long-term.

Kelli Dutra, Cobham: As a manufacturer, we are helping to put this program together and graduate students. We need the broadest possible industry participation. There’s still a lot of work to do behind the scenes, and we can be part of developing the coursework now. It is a hands-on technical program, which means we are developing hands-on lab experiences and teaching the labs. We’re only going to be successful if everyone participates.

Read a blogpost from NextFlex about the program or visit the website.