Clark College and local companies get nearly $250G in job skills grants

Clark College’s corporate education division was awarded more than $244,000 in Job Skills Program grants that will allow eight Clark County businesses to provide customized training for their employees this fiscal year.

The payout is 38 percent more than last year’s funding and the most JPS funds the college has received in five years, according to Todd Oldham, interim executive director of corporate and continuing education at the college.

Columbia Machine received $108,000 for lean manufacturing training, which the Vancouver-based company has already begun to employ. Lean manufacturing refers to working with less capital equipment and floor space and replacing it with a value-added process to become faster and more efficient.

In late August, Columbia Machine held a session on value stream mapping – a technique used to analyze the flow of materials and information currently required to bring a product or service to a customer.

In September, the company will hold a session to explore how lean manufacturing processes would be incorporated at the company. The session will bring operators, managers and owners together to map the existing process, improve it and seek investment from all parties.

Vancouver-based Isonics Semiconductor, Commercial Vehicle Group, KASO Plastics, Bemis Co., New Edge Networks and Pacific Die Casting Corp. split $104,000 for Six Sigma training. Six Sigma is a measure of variability, and when processes are performing at Six Sigma levels, the chance for product defects are reportedly extremely low.

Woodland-based AIMMco received $32,000 for certification training on International Standards Organizations (ISO) 9000 – a family of standards for quality management systems that encompasses a set of procedures that cover key processes in the business.

Workforce development is one of Clark College’s six mission imperatives, and in the past two years, the college has upped its efforts to aid greater access for the business community to public education funds.

The Job Skills Program is state funded with the mission to extend its education and training resources so that Washington employers will be provided with a well-trained and skilled workforce.