Home » Gateway program allows students to finish in half the time at half the cost

Gateway program allows students to finish in half the time at half the cost

Graduates guaranteed interviews with employer partners

FLORENCE, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2016) — The Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition and Gateway Community and Technical College welcomed the first class of students for its Enhanced Operator program. Twenty-eight students are enrolled in the 16-week program. The partnership allows students to finish the traditional 25 credit hours in half the time at half the cost.

Angie Praisewater instructs new Enhanced Operator student“We asked local industry leaders to help us design a competency based curriculum that is driven by their specific needs,” said Carissa Schutzman, vice president of Gateway Corporate College. “The Enhanced Operator program represents a paradigm shift from requiring students to sit in a seat for a determined amount of time, to the ability of the student to demonstrate skills and move through at his or her own pace. This is a shift from supply side educational offerings to demand side.“

Students have the option of moving at their own pace and to “test out” of modules if they have the knowledge and experience to do so. In addition, the curriculum will be primarily “open-source,” meaning resources are drawn from industry sources giving students real world learning experiences. Only one textbook is required for the entire program and course work includes preparation needed for the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Exam.

Upon completion of this program, students will obtain the Enhanced Operator Certificate, which is a locally recognized industry certificate equivalent to 14 hours of college credit. All credits can be applied towards Gateway’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology Associates in Applied Science Degree. Another bonus to students is a guaranteed interview with employer partners for everyone who completes the program.

“Northern Kentucky employers are struggling to find Enhanced Operators due to a lack of developed skills,” said Angie Praisewater, program coordinator of Gateway’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology and FAME program. “Partners for Competitive Workforce coordinated a partnership between the industry employers and Gateway Community and Technical College to develop a competency-based certificate program that would satisfy the skillset needed to fill these positions. The outcome of the partnership is the Enhanced Operator program, a short-term industry credential developed to satisfy these needs and assist in filling these high-demand job opportunities.”

Industry partners including, Safran MBD, Mubea, Zumbiel, Linamar Eagle, Bosch, Zotefoams, Mazak and Armour USA collaborated with Gateway staff to create a 16-week course that includes instruction in needed skills provided in a flexible format that considers the work schedules of the students. The course is a hybrid, meaning 70 percent of the course is delivered online and 30 percent in person for hands-on labs.

Gateway’s partnership with industry and the Enhanced Operator program will be featured in a documentary this spring on demand driven educational models created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.