Industry Voice: FRCC’s new Center for Integrated Manufacturing takes flight

By George Newman | Jul 18, 2019

Front Range Community College (FRCC) is preparing to open its new training center for careers in high-tech manufacturing. Colorado has a serious shortage of skilled workers for advanced manufacturing jobs. As the only college facility in the state with four advanced manufacturing programs under one roof, the new Center for Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) will help meet the needs of local businesses, while giving students access to lucrative careers.

"Advanced manufacturing is booming in Colorado but many local companies can't find enough workers with the right skills and training to fill these well-paying jobs," says Andy Dorsey, president of Front Range Community College. "By educating people in our community, we can help local companies meet their critical need for employees, and provide students strong career opportunities."

The shortage of trained manufacturing workers is the single greatest threat to Colorado's vital manufacturing industry. Ignored, this shortfall will lead to significant economic headwinds for Colorado manufacturers and the state's economy.

An FRCC analysis of 2017 Colorado labor-market data revealed that industrial maintenance, electronics technology, and engineering technology positions are predicted to grow faster than any other manufacturing-related occupational categories.

Enter FRCC

In 2013, the college responded to industry's need for more machinists and manufacturing technicians. The college started a new Precision Machining Technology program at its Boulder County Campus.

Since then, the demand for trained manufacturing workers has continued to grow, and additional programs are needed. In 2016 and 2017, FRCC staff heard repeatedly from manufacturing representatives about serious shortages of skilled workers in industrial maintenance, automation technology, electronics, optics, and machining.

Working with industry partners, FRCC has now created two new programs, set to open this fall:

Both will train workers for the types of manufacturing jobs prevalent along the Front Range and in northern Colorado. These two new programs will be housed at the CIM, joining the college's two existing manufacturing programs:

"FRCC's programs provide industry-focused education and hands-on training," says Elena Sandoval-Lucero, vice president of the college's Boulder County campus. "These programs were developed in direct response to industry needs -- and with significant input from area businesses. Because of that industry involvement, students from our programs are able to hit the ground running in a variety of advanced manufacturing jobs."

The new cutting-edge training equipment at the CIM will allow for hands-on, active learning and skill-building instruction -- providing industry-relevant learning experiences for our students.

Learn more about these innovative education options for careers in advanced manufacturing:

Grand Opening

When: Thursday, August 1 | 2:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting | 2:30 – 4:00 pm

Joint Open House with St. Vrain Valley School District | 4:00 – 7:00 pm (Stop in anytime!)

Where: FRCC's new Center for Integrated Manufacturing

1351 S. Sunset St. in Longmont

Come explore FRCC's new education options for careers in this fast-growing field. The grand opening will feature tours of the college's brand-new 27,000 square-foot facility and give the public a chance to learn about jobs in high-tech manufacturing from local employers. The event will also feature demonstrations of FRCC's cutting-edge equipment and sessions to learn more about the programs housed at the Center for Integrated Manufacturing.

Find out more about this new educational facility at:

George Newman is director of the advanced manufacturing program at Front Range Community College (FRCC) and director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing. He has spent over 30 years in various manufacturing industries including paper, plastics, automation and industrial equipment.