SHERIDAN — Sheridan College President Paul Young announced today that he may ask the school’s board of trustees to consider a special election as early as August to fund the renovation and expansion of the current Technical Education Center on the college’s main campus.
Young said it has been 36 years since the college asked for support of this kind.
“Over the last few years, we have been fortunate to receive support from the state, local foundations and many other generous donors,” he said. “For example, foundations such as Whitney are very supportive of Sheridan College. However, there are limits to what our generous foundations and donors can do, and there is a real need for broad community support for this project.”
According to a press release from the college, the current Technical Center was completed in 1977 and is in need of upgrades and repairs. Planned expansion would allow for enrollment to quadruple in three areas: welding, diesel, and machine tool.
“We turn away three qualified technical student applicants for every one student we are able to admit to these programs,” SC Board Chair Kati Sherwood said.
“It is a disservice to our students to put this off any longer, especially given that there are employers out there waiting to hire our graduates,” she said. “We remain committed to a community outreach process that values and respects the taxpayers of Sheridan County. This project is really about making an active contribution to the economic diversity and stability of our region.”
According to a recent study, titled “Boiling point: The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing,” sponsored by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the hardest jobs to fill are those that have the biggest impact on performance.
Shortages in skilled production jobs — machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, technicians and more — are taking their toll on manufacturers’ ability to expand operations, drive innovation and improve productivity. Seventy-four percent of respondents in the study indicated that workforce shortages or skills deficiencies in skilled production roles are having a significant impact on their ability to expand operations or improve productivity.
These jobs, according to the press release, require the most training and are traditionally among the hardest manufacturing jobs to find existing talent to fill.