RCAM Philosophy and Operation
The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) is a collaborative, linking business and educational resources in the Monadnock Region to support a new generation of advanced manufacturing jobs and ensure New Hampshire’s competitiveness in the new economy. The Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, the Keene School District (SAU29), River Valley Community College, and Keene State College have formed an alliance to develop and deliver educational courses and programs focused on the development of a workforce for advanced manufacturing. These partners have agreed to the participation of their staff and use of their facilities as resources for RCAM programs.
Thirteen students recently completed the Skills Through Apprenticeship and Retraining, (STAR) sponsored by RCAM at the Keene Campus of River Valley Community College. These students were paid while attending classes and hired as CNC machinists by local manufacturers.
Existing courses from the three academic institutions will be knit together to form the foundation for programming to support the needs of industry. RCAM programs will bridge four nodes of learning—Keene School District, River Valley Community College, Keene State College, and the manufacturing workplace—with basic skills training, relevant academic exercise, and hands-on experience. Industry partners will provide specific training and mentoring to further develop employees for specific career development. Collectively, this innovative program structure employs a variety of assessment tools and allows for multiple points of entry and exit depending on the individual’s prior knowledge, educational level, experience, career goals, and aptitude. Each pathway is designed to prepare individuals with the classroom instruction and hands-on training for workplace skills needed to secure, and be successful in positions in the high technology advanced manufacturing industry. With access to four distinct, but aligned, levels of training and education, students can connect with and take advantage of a variety of educational opportunities through the appropriate “pathway” to get the training they need to be competitive. Courses for RCAM programs will be offered through the Continuing Education Office at Keene State College, and granted CEU’s for completed course work. CEU’s will provide a record of seat time, while testing and other assessment methods will be used to establish credibility of competency. The requirement to take courses covering existing knowledge and skills will be eliminated by the RCAM model.
RCAM will provide an opportunity for existing and potential employees to obtain skills and education required to enter and/or advance in the advanced manufacturing workforce. Assessment of skills and education will be evaluated, to establish the correct placement of candidates into RCAM programs. Additionally, course work and competencies which parallel academic requirements, will articulate towards diplomas, certificates, and degrees granted by the educational partners.