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US Deputy Secretary of Labor tours CPCC mechatronics lab

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CHARLOTTE--Charlotte's Central Piedmont Community College is putting North Carolinians back to work with more advanced training than ever before.

“You walk into a manufacturing facility now and it's like walking into a hospital. The floors are clean, the equipment is all computerized,” said CPCC's Dave Ross.

The Advanced Mechatronics Manufacturing Lab combines mechanical, electrical and computer fields, so graduates can work on today's complex manufacturing systems.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris traveled to Charlotte to tour the two-year-old facility.

“During the State of the Union address, President Obama challenged us to train and place in jobs, 2 million U.S. workers to community college and employer partnerships. We're seeing that right here at CPCC. Folks are getting jobs, they're excellent jobs, they're middle class jobs and they're staying in those jobs. That's the goal,” said Harris.

Over the past three years, the Labor Department has awarded CPCC $6 million in grants to develop workforce training programs.

The college is working closely with area employers like Siemens Energy to build a pipeline of highly-skilled workers.

“We've had incredible response from local businesses. We've really hit the mark in identifying what their needs are,” said Ross.

The result, Harris says, is one of the most comprehensive community college-employer partnerships in the nation.

“It's a way to attract some long term unemployed folks back to jobs that maybe they never thought they could have,” said Harris.

CPCC graduates an average of 20 to 25 students annually from the program, including a number of graduates completing specialized training as part of a similar program in corporate continuing education.

This gives graduates the boost they need to succeed in today's workforce.

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