Education, Business Leaders Meet at Sandburg to Discuss Skills Gap

Aaron Frey, PR Specialist, 309.341.5301

GALESBURG—Representatives from area manufacturers, K-12 schools, state legislators and Carl Sandburg College employees came together Thursday morning to discuss shared topics between the education and industrial sectors during a Manufacturing Breakfast at Carl Sandburg College.

About 50 area leaders in education and industry attended the event, which included conversations about workforce training, necessary employee skills and trends within the business. The point of the conversation centered on video of “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe’s Capitol Hill testimony earlier this year about the nationwide skills gap. This marked the second time Sandburg has hosted such an event for the manufacturing sector, with the first taking place in April.

“Events like this are important not just from a relationship standpoint but from an understanding perspective as well,” said Lauri White, dean of career and corporate development. “It’s important to realize the needs for everyone at all three levels — K-12, college and professional. The better we understand each other’s operations, needs and concerns, the greater chance we have at helping our students succeed in the classroom and in the workplace.”

Sandburg offers three Associate in Applied Science programs (biofuels manufacturing technology, rail/off-highway motive-powered electrical technician and welding) and nine certificate programs (automotive technology, basic industrial & manufacturing maintenance, diesel power technology, rail/off-highway motive-powered electrical technician, MIG option/gas metal arc welding, TIG option/gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, gas shielded arc welding and pipe welder specialist) that directly pertain to the manufacturing industry. Other certificates and degrees are in development for manufacturing after Sandburg recently was awarded more than $1 million from a TAACCCT grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The College also announced in September that it reached an agreement to teach approved courses in locomotive electrical and locomotive mechanical fields through the National Academy of Railroad Sciences. A certificate in locomotive electrical training will be offered at Sandburg for the start of the 2015 spring semester, and a locomotive mechanical certificate program will be available beginning in the 2015 fall semester. Associate in Applied Science degrees are being developed for these fields as well.

Registration for all Sandburg classes for the 2015 spring semester is taking place now. To begin the admission process, contact the Carl Sandburg College Welcome Center at 309.345.3500 or