KLAMATH FALLS — Klamath Community College is pleased to announce the college has been awarded a $320,000 grant to integrate advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity education pathways and course outcomes.

The funding is part of a $5 million U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Community College Training Grant that was awarded to Klamath Community College and eight other Oregon community colleges. The grant will be distributed over a four-year period.

The grant is intended to support increased collaboration between community college advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity programs in response to a need for cyber-awareness in advanced manufacturing. The need has grown with the emergence of 5G networks that facilitate rapid adoption of automation and accelerated growth of artificial intelligence.

“Cybersecurity is a high-wage, high-skill, high-demand career field. This new program alignment will support ongoing collaboration to train workers to respond to cyber issues that emerge as automation and artificial intelligence become more ingrained in the advanced manufacturing sector,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez.

As part of the $5 million grant, the consortium will first hire a statewide project director, whose responsibilities will include gathering best practices among cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing community college programs and workforce partners. This collaborative effort will lead to updates to program curriculum, offering stackable credentials directly tied to employment and career advancement, and alignment of policies related to credit transfer, program governance, and more.

Consortium members will then build upon already-existing initiatives, including short-term certifications and stackable credentials, and hands-on training, such as internships, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships.

Workforce development system partners include WorkSystems, the Oregon Workforce Partnership, Oregon Workforce Talent Development Board and several others. Businesses such as Amazon Web Services, EnergySec, McKinstry and others joined the consortium as employer partners.

In addition to increasing access to cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing training, the grant will also be used to address challenges associated with remote learning, including improving accessibility to workforce training opportunities that must be offered online due to the pandemic.

“These investments in technology infrastructure will help consortium members facilitate nimble and robust career-technical education programs that can be delivered online, hybrid, or in-person as conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and drive shifts in the workforce,” said Jamie Jennings, KCC vice president of Academic Affairs.

The Oregon Consortium for Strengthening Community Colleges is the only recipient of a Strengthening Community College Training Grant in the state and one of just 11 nationwide.

Institutions participating in the grant consortium are Central Oregon, Clackamas, Chemeketa, Lane, Klamath, Mt. Hood, Portland, Rogue and Southwestern Oregon community colleges