COC to receive $5 million in federal funding

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News release  

The Santa Clarita Community College District, which administers College of the Canyons, will receive more than $5 million in federal funding to purchase equipment required to provide high-quality training in robotic automation production, non-destructive inspections of aircraft, and firefighting, according to a statement issued by the college. 

Included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 29, the funding was secured by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, and Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita. 

“We are so grateful to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, as well as Congressman Mike Garcia, for their unwavering support in helping College of the Canyons continue to provide skilled training in high-demand careers,” said COC Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook. “The funding for these projects related to addressing the critical demand for trained workers and technicians in robotic automation production, NDI and firefighting will directly benefit our students and community.” 

Feinstein and Padilla secured $2.3 million in funding for the purchase of Regional Fire Academy equipment to expand its capacity to train and provide work-based learning experience to new entry and mid-career firefighter workers and technicians.  

The Regional Fire Academy training and certifications provided by COC is designed to streamline and expedite worker entry to middle-skill jobs while helping regional and statewide fire organizations close the widening skill gap.  

COC’s Regional Fire Academy meets the standards of an Accredited Regional Training Program, designated by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal. As an ARTP, COC’s Regional Fire Academy can deliver a CSFM Accredited Fire Fighter I/II Academy.  

The bicameral efforts of Padilla and Garcia led to the successful securement of $1 million in community project funding for a robotics automation production lab and simulation center at the college.  

The funding will go toward purchasing advanced manufacturing equipment necessary to provide training and increase capacity in advanced manufacturing within the Robotic Automation Production Lab and Simulation Center housed in the college’s Advanced Technology Center.  

The center will provide state-of-the-art technical training to more than 300 students per year for high-skill jobs in advanced manufacturing/computerized machining, welding/material joining, robotic welding, integrated personal fabrication, integration with the Internet of Things (IoT), and construction technologies, according to the college’s statement.  

“This project will continue the college’s demonstrated history of creating a supportive community network to help students successfully navigate pathways from high school to college and eventually to employment in high-wage, high-demand fields,” said Harriet Happel, dean of career education, integrative learning and the Employment Center at the college.  

Through the National Defense Authorization Act, Garcia secured $2 million in funding for non-destructive inspection and training for defense applications at the college’s Advanced Technology Center.  

An important part of aviation safety, NDIs are performed to identify internal and external imperfections in aircraft in relation to structural integrity, composition and properties. Equipment and training for skilled NDI technicians have many implications for national defense, as all military aircraft are required to go through NDI prior to flight.  

Equipment and training through the ATC will enable technicians to work with NDI testing methods, such as X-ray, ultrasound radiography, penetrant testing, eddy current and thermography.  

“Aerospace manufacturers such as Lockheed, Boeing and Northrop Grumman are currently experiencing a shortage of trained NDI technicians,” said Happel. “By creating an NDI training program at the ATC, COC will enable key defense and industrial companies to maintain their technological advantage and enhance national security and aircraft safety.” 

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