TMA partners with Oakton College to offer course credits

Pictured (L-R): Ileo Lott, Ed.D., Oakton College Provost and VP for Academic Affairs; Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D., Oakton College President; Patrick Osborne, President, TMA; and Jack Krikorian, Senior Director of Training and Education, TMA. (Oakton College)

DES PLAINES – A new strategic partnership allows manufacturing apprentices and students pursuing careers in manufacturing through the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) to obtain college credits at Oakton College in Des Plaines, creating a pathway for the next generation of manufacturers to grow in their education and career.

The Manufacturing Training Partnership agreement, which was formally signed at Oakton College, enacts a collaboration between Oakton and TMA, encouraging TMA-trained students and apprentices to pursue a certificate or a degree at Oakton, awarding 18 credits for up to five training courses taught at TMA.

“This is a historical and cultural development, bringing together two career pathways that have been more parallel than cooperative for decades,” said TMA President Patrick Osborne. “No longer does a career in manufacturing require an ‘either/or’ mindset for students and their parents — it allows a limitless ‘both’ educational future for those choosing manufacturing.”

The agreement adds Advanced Automation as TMA’s fourth apprenticeship pathway, which will be aligned with the TMA Advanced Automation certificate at Oakton. Students will be able to do year one at either TMA or Oakton, then complete their second and third years with hands on learning at the facility that offers the training they seek in Tool & Die Making, Mold Making, or CNC Programming.

“We’ve been growing this important relationship with Oakton College for nearly 10 years and we are so delighted to expand the training and impact options those that pursue careers in manufacturing will have ahead of them,” said Jack Krikorian, senior director of TMA Training & Education. “The future of U.S. manufacturing depends on attracting the next generation.”

The quality of TMA’ s renowned “gold standard” training was a key component in this agreement, an Oakton professor said at the signing.

“By working with an industry-recognized partner like TMA, we are able to support more students, provide them with more learning opportunities, and better prepare them for entering the workforce,” said Boguslaw Zapal, Oakton’s Computer-Integrated Manufacturing coordinator and professor.

TMA’s membership consistently reports the challenges of finding skilled team members to join their efforts. TMA’s focus is on assisting small and mid-sized manufacturers to success and a key part of that assistance is offering the skills training their members need.

“We’re expanding our training and education on multiple levels — management education with Judson University and now skills training with Oakton College,” said President Osborne. “We’re focused on our TMA members’ needs, and we look forward to seeing how this development works to grow the industry.”

As a general practice, TMA members generously fund their employees’ training at TMA’s creating an opportunity for students to not be burdened with heavy college debt as they embark on their careers.

Published in the Daily Herald; the Des Plaines Patch; and the Community College Daily .

About TMA: Founded in 1925, the Technology and Manufacturing Association is an independent trade organization exclusively focused on assisting small and mid-size manufacturers by providing a diverse portfolio of benefits and services, including: community, information, training, resources, and advocacy. TMA has nearly 1,000 members representing over 35,000 manufacturing employees and more than 25 million square feet of manufacturing plant.