The U.S. Army Contracting Command-Rock Island (ACC-RI) has awarded a $1.78 million contract to the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and Danville Community College (DCC) for a pilot project to develop the prototype training program, Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM). The base year of the contract includes instructional staff and curriculum development to address workforce gaps for Defense Industrial Base (DIB) companies.
“Thanks to this transformative opportunity from the DoD, the ATDM program will allow us to fill critical workforce gaps while building the capacity of our nation’s Defense Industrial Base,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director for IALR, the fiscal agent and ATDM program lead. “We are fortunate to be joined by exemplary partners—DCC, a leader in workforce development programs; Phillips Corporation, a champion of next-generation manufacturing solutions; and The SPECTRUM Group, a consulting firm experienced in the defense industry. I look forward to seeing the program grow under the leadership of IALR’s Troy Simpson, and I thank Sen. Mark Warner and other legislators for supporting these efforts.”
“Danville Community College’s excellence and experience in technical training aligned to industry needs makes our institution the perfect partner for the ATDM pilot program,” said Dr. Jacqueline Gill Powell, president of Danville Community College. “This program will provide another unique opportunity for our students while training needed workforce for the defense industry. By leveraging our existing advanced manufacturing infrastructure and industry expert knowledge, we are positioned to support the ATDM program now and into the future.”
The initial ATDM pilot will focus on the naval shipbuilding sector and will train skilled workers in the DIB skill gaps of CNC machining, welding, metrology/quality assurance and additive manufacturing. A fast-track, intensive and targeted program, ATDM offers universal application across the DIB and the inherent flexibility to be customized for specific manufacturing sectors. It also addresses one of the top workforce development priorities of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program – the need to train skilled workers at scale and velocity to address skill gaps and manpower shortages in the DIB. The ATDM contract was issued under the CORNERSTONE OTA, an integrated contract vehicle that supports the DoD’s IBAS program.
ATDM will support the recently launched IBAS National Imperative in Industrial Skills (NIIS) for the creation of an industrial skills workforce development ecosystem. NIIS aims to close existing industrial workforce skill gaps and improve America’s capacity to recruit, train and deliver sufficient numbers of workers with industrial skills to meet defense supply chain requirements. A major objective of the pilot project will be to evaluate ATDM’s contributions to NIIS as a model training platform in a national network of regionally-based training centers serving the various industrial sectors of the DIB.
“Congratulations to the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Danville Community College consortium for securing a $1.78 million award from the Department of Defense (DoD) for their workforce training pilot program, as part of DoD’s National Imperative for Industrial Skills (NIIS) Initiative, which aims to scale up workforce training for our nation’s defense industrial base. The Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing pilot program ramps up key skills such as welding, additive manufacturing and metrology, and serves as a model for our nation,” said U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “Given significant gaps that exist in our nation’s defense industrial base, we must pursue innovative models of workforce training such as this one in order to meet our essential national security needs. I’m proud to have been part of today’s announcement, and commend all of the hard work that has gone into developing this program. I look forward to seeing the impact of this training in developing indispensable talent for naval shipbuilding. I’m also optimistic about the jobs that this pilot program will create during this difficult time, and the effect that those jobs will have on the regional economy.”
IALR and DCC have partnered with Phillips Corporation, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, and The SPECTRUM Group, a leading defense consulting firm. The public-private consortium consulted with the defense industry to develop the ATDM program.
Alan Phillips, President/CEO of Phillips Corporation states, “We are proud to be joining IALR, Danville Community College and The Spectrum Group to team on implementing ATDM in the important mission to bridge the skills gap in the USA’s Defense Industrial Base. We believe IALR has the ideal combination of strong leadership, excellent infrastructure, resourceful strategic partners and a highly innovative training formula that will enable success in executing the objectives of ATDM. We look forward to contributing our advanced manufacturing industry knowledge in the areas of subtractive and additive metalworking technologies as we partner with IALR to offer compelling and deployable training programs.”
“ATDM will take the extraordinary manufacturing and workforce development infrastructure that exists in the Danville region to the national level with the potential to make a significant contribution to our nation’s security. SPECTRUM is delighted to be on the Danville team,” said Charlie Dale, Partner of The SPECTRUM Group.
Photos Courtesy of DCC and the City of Danville
Danville Community College (DCC) students train on the latest precision machining technology as part of Danville-Pittsylvania County’s workforce development model, which has been lauded by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and others as a benchmark program. DCC will work with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, program lead of a newly awarded contract from the Department of Defense, to develop an innovative Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing program and address Defense Industrial Base skill gaps in CNC machining and other areas.
IALR and the Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET) held the first ever virtual Next generation Of Work (NOW) program in April. Modeled after the District C program in North Carolina, NOW pairs student teams with area companies who pose a problem for the students to solve. Twenty-five local AET juniors participated, and three local companies, including Dewberry, Kyocera and Tyton BioSciences, served as the business partners.
“It’s a really unique way to provide students with a real life, work-based learning experience to solve complex problems in diverse teams,” said Jessie Vernon, IALR Program Coordinator. In addition to student benefits, the program also assists local businesses. It is a minimal time investment of up to five hours, and they receive viable solutions to their problem. The N.C. District C program reports that 93 percent of their business partners have implemented or plan to implement at least part of the solutions the students provided.
Students were first coached on the mindsets and tools needed to work collaboratively to solve their business problem. Students then met with their business partner to learn about their problem. From there, they had roughly four weeks to research, brainstorm and develop their plan, and received feedback from their business partner at the halfway point. Vernon, John Hatchett, AET Coordinator, and Dana Silicki, IALR Program Coordinator, who each completed 60+ hours of training with District C, served as team coaches and provided more frequent support to students. The final event consisted of a 10-minute presentation to the business partner highlighting their solution to the problem, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Business partners provided real feedback to the students, and the students were also graded on their participation.
Students are taught four principal mindsets: Analytical, Design, Collective and Self-Aware. They are also taught how to use 12 different tools within these mindsets. “This is a very student-driven process,” Vernon said. “After being coached at the program launch on the four mindsets and most of the tools, the students set their own agendas and ideate on their own.”
IALR plans to run various implementations of the program moving forward. This is the first District C-modeled, partner program to be run outside of North Carolina.
“The pleasure and honor of this project was all mine. It is inspiring to see young people critically think like that,” said Jason Wells of Kyocera. “I found the time invested very worthwhile.”