MCCC President Kojo Quartey spoke about the importance of specialized skills at his annual State of the College address.
Quartey said that in the future MCCC is going to offer more opportunity for skilled workers.
“There’s a shortage of skilled workers,” he said. “We’re doing something about it. If not Monroe Community College, then who?”
He said there are many projects in the area in the next few years that will need skilled workers.
“Fermi 2 has been renewed, and Fermi 3 may be coming. Somebody has to provide the work for that,” Quartey said.
“The I-75 corridor is being expanded; somebody has to provide the work for that. The Nexus pipeline from Canada that’s coming down through Michigan to Ohio; somebody has to provide it.”
These projects require workers who are certified in specialized areas such as pipe fitting, welding, or electrical wiring, he said.
The jobs will require courses and training that may not be the standard college classes, but still lead to paying jobs.
“I always talk about the concept of a credential, economic value — it doesn’t have to be a 2-year or 4-year degree. Just as long as it’s a credential that’s going to help that student make a life, make a living, and earn some money,” Quartey said.
Adding to the list of certificate programs being offered by MCCC is a cyber-security program.
“We hope to have our cyber-security center at the Whitman center in Bedford,” he said. “Why Bedford? They came to us, and if we’re in Bedford and we know that there is a wide and open market in Toledo, that gives us access to the Toledo market.”
Quartey said he hopes this program will allow high school students in the area to dual-enroll in cyber security classes.
Many students come to this college without a strong idea of what they want to get a degree or certificate in, so the college tries its best to offer opportunities and guidance, he said.
“I heard somebody describe the community college as two years of direction,” Quartey said. “Some students may have no idea what to do with their lives, so what do they do? They come to the community college, and what do we do? We shape them and mold them; we give them direction.”