Partners Making a Difference

September 04, 2012

With news this year of an expansion at the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Center, SCC is celebrating too. That’s because a partnership with the college’s Workforce Development Department to train and retrain autoworkers onsite at GM is one that benefits both parties, as well as the local economy.

Partners Making a Difference

Rich Lammers, SCC technical instructor, trains GM employees Tamitha Strong and Jim Beachler the basics of machine shop work. SCC helps GM to consolidate trades and cross-train employees to be millwrights, pipefitters and toolmakers.

Currently, the GM Wentzville Assembly Center is the global production site for the Full Size Van.

In November 2011, Gov. Jay Nixon visited GM to announce a $380 million plant expansion to accommodate the production of the new Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup. Nixon and GM officials broke ground in May 2012.

With the expansion comes the need for more training. But Amanda Sizemore, director of Workforce Development at SCC, says it’s the ongoing partnership, in existence since 1988, that has helped GM to be ready. “Through the SCC/GM partnership, with everyone pulling together, the GM Wentzville facility is successful in generating a high-quality product with safe and efficient practices,” Sizemore said. “SCC Workforce Development is proud of the role it played in helping to win this expansion.”

“We look to the college for expertise when it comes to training,” said George Herina, labor relations manager at GM Wentzville Assembly Center.

“The college helps the company to be more competitive.”

The college also helps by securing funds to provide ongoing training and training-related initiatives. A three-year grant, presented in 2008 from the Missouri Community College Job Retention Training Program for $3.6 million, has trained more than 1,225 people and provided more than 280,000 contact hours.

Another three-year grant, for more than $575,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor, was awarded through the United Auto Workers – Labor Employment and Training Corporation (UAW-LETC) to the St. Louis Area Energy Partnership, of which SCC is a member and serves as the link to these funds for General Motors. By the end of the 2011-12 academic year, SCC has served approximately 697 people, providing nearly 25,000 additional contact hours as a member of this partnership.

A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor, Director Jay Williams from the Office of Recovery and Auto Communities and Workers, was at GM in February 2012, for a site visit of projects funded under the UAW-LETC grant.

Sharing its success GM has also invested in the education of future generations. The SCC Foundation received a major gift this year to fund a variety of community programs and events at the college, including the Living Green Expo, the High School Math Tournament and the Robotics Challenge, where middle and high school students use STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to create robots out of LEGO® MINDSTORMS®, simulating a real-world robot at General Motors.

GM has been funding scholarships and academic enhancements at the college through the SCC Foundation since 1991.

This story was published in SCC's 2011-12 Annual Report.

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