Central Arizona College is collaborating with luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors, the Arizona Commerce Authority and others to build a high-tech training center for employees of Pinal County’s incoming advanced manufacturers.
The 13,000-square-foot facility is still in the design phase but expected to be operational and supporting training at the Signal Peak Campus by the end of 2020, according to the commerce authority.
The projected $4 million project will be funded by a combination of federal grant money and nongeneral-fund state money dedicated to workforce development, the ACA said.
The building will house training equipment used for a three-week course for recent hires of Lucid and other firms, driven by a first-of-its kind unified curriculum created last year to meet the workforce needs of advanced manufacturers coming into the state.
CAC, the Maricopa Community College District and Pima Community College launched this program last year as the Arizona Advanced Technology Network, under the guidance of the commerce authority’s Office of Economic Opportunity.
A rigorous curriculum was designed with input from Lucid and other Arizona manufacturers about the kind of workforce needed to fill high-paying, high-technology advanced manufacturing jobs, which can involve running and maintaining robots, 3D printing, reading and writing machine programming code and knowledge of hydraulic and electrical systems.
The Arizona Advanced Technology Network’s Automation Industrial Certificate is aligned to National Institute for Metalworking Skills competencies, which are considered the foundation for entry into the advanced manufacturing industry.
The City of Casa Grande, Pinal County, CAC and the Arizona Commerce Authority are working together to establish this training center, expected to be a regional and statewide asset for all manufacturers and employees who can benefit from the curriculum.
Lucid is expected to be the first company to send its workers through the course at the training center and is on track to complete construction and begin production at its Casa Grande facility at the end of this year, despite the economic uncertainties created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to company statements and local officials.
The total number of students undergoing training will be determined by the manufacturers who send employees to receive training.
CAC has already been collaborating with Lucid for several years, with the college allowing the company to temporarily use some of its office space in Casa Grande and modifying some curriculum to align with the needs of Lucid and other manufacturers.