College of the Canyons recently celebrated the grand opening of the Interim Advanced Technology Center, where students will be gaining hands-on training beginning this fall.
The new COC Interim Advanced Technolgy Center is a 13,500 square-foot facility where students will have the opportunity to learn big data, robotics, system integration, augmented reality, cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT). Its mission is to create a talent pipeline that will allow students to be highly competitive in promising industries.
Among the guest speakers for the grand opening ceremony were Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs, COC board President Edel Alonso.
Santa Clarita Valley dignitaries, business partners and educational leaders were present during the ceremony that took place in one of the many classrooms at the new facility.
Guests could take a closer look at the Sharp Knee Type Vertical Milling Machines and other tools and machinery students will be using to further their careers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Innovation inspires, motivates and energizes. It empowers and it leads to the realization of untapped potential,” COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said.
At the ceremony, Van Hook was presented with numerous certificates for her dedication to providing educational opportunities for students and her efforts to provide students new possibilities in promising careers.
“This is a very important first step. I don’t think we’re done. I think we’ve got to scale up from here,” Garcia said. “My vision is to have this on steroids times 10 if we can.”
“We have a huge aerospace and defense footprint in our district here, which is Santa Clarita, San Fernando and the Antelope Valley, and literally the first thing from this industry right now is staffing, finding the work force,” said Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot. “So this helps fill this gap.”
Many business representatives that COC partnered with gave speeches about how proud and honored they were to be taking this step to provide opportunities to local students and create work opportunities that will serve as a defense for the United States.
“This ATC will support our future aerospace and defense industry workforce and will be a critical element in providing the knowledge, the skills to make hands-on abilities for our technical teams,” said Pat Hund, vice president of Strike and Mission Aircraft at Northrop Grumman. “We’re talking about cutting-edge hands-on training in advanced manufacturing, robotics, welding and fabrication … and so much more that we hadn’t dreamed about, and develop those job requisitions in the next six years.”
Northrop Grumman, B&B Manufacturing, ITT Aerospace, Universal Studios and many more local businesses were among the sponsors in bringing the center to fruition.
Gary Horton, first vice chair of the COC Foundation, announced the foundation will be donating at least $3 million over the next three years “to support the ongoing needs of this because the purpose of the center will forever need ongoing funds, new software.”
Horton added: “We will raise at least a million dollars a year for three years and that’s our pledge to you today.”
COC has future plans to purchase and build a 30,000-square-foot facility as the permanent home for the Advanced Technology Center with hopes of expanding the program and its curriculum in the coming years.