College of DuPage to Create Advanced Digital Manufacturing Center

Manufacturing Technology

By Joseph Moore

College of DuPage is preparing to roll out DuPage County’s newest advanced manufacturing training and development resource. The Advanced Digital Manufacturing Center will provide expertise, technology and space to meet current and emerging, highly sophisticated technical training needs.

The College recently announced that it will retrofit classrooms this summer to add dedicated lab space in the existing Technology Education Center to accommodate the new initiative, which will include a focus on metrology and quality assurance as well as robotics and flexible manufacturing. The College intends to purchase roughly $1 million in advanced manufacturing equipment, doubling its current investment in this critical area. The new space and equipment will both increase advanced manufacturing capability and accommodate additional students in the College’s growing manufacturing program.

The College is in the process of starting a search for a new faculty member to support the center and its efforts. The Center will further develop the College’s “stackable” credentials and certificates designed to give people work-ready skills in a short amount of time.

“With the addition of this cutting-edge facility, College of DuPage continues to meet area business and workforce needs,” said College of DuPage President Dr. Robert L. Breuder. “Students will be able to pursue the most relevant manufacturing credentials to enhance their employability right now.”

There are 406,700 manufacturing jobs in the Chicago, Joliet and Naperville areas, according to the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council, with roughly 52,000 in DuPage County and an estimated need of 9,000 manufacturing workers in DuPage over the next 10 years. According to Choose DuPage, the manufacturing sector of the economy in DuPage County is the fifth most important employment sector, featuring the fourth highest wages and benefits.

“These jobs require highly skilled, trained professionals,” said COD Business and Technology Dean Donna Stewart. “This center will enable College of DuPage to meet this employer need.”

College of DuPage has actively partnered with many area manufacturing-related companies in an effort to prepare students and workers for employment and advancement through apprenticeship programs, grants and tuition reimbursement for employees. Representatives from these companies hold positions on the advisory board for COD’s Manufacturing Technology program, which keeps the program up-to-date with emerging technologies and evolving skill sets required by employers.

For more information about the Manufacturing Technology program, visit www.cod.edu/manufacturing.