The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) in California has been awarded a $300,000 grant to educate its students in advanced manufacturing techniques including 3D printing. The grant was issued by the California Community College Chancellor's Office Division of Workforce & Economic Development and supports their Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy outreach.

Doing What Matters is devoted to strengthening California's economy by equipping students to work in high demand fields like additive manufacturing. "There are excellent opportunities for high-wage jobs in Advanced Manufacturing in our region. To keep current, employees require ongoing training. In addition, both high school and college students must be introduced to additive manufacturing, digital design, high-tech welding and other cutting-edge technologies so that they can bring this expertise to local businesses," said Carol Pepper-Kittredge, the Deputy Sector Navigator for the grant program at Sierra. "Through this grant, colleges and industry can work together to enhance the local economy."

For the last twenty one years the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies has been providing customized training for organizations, manufacturers and technology companies throughout Northern California. "We are in the business of producing graduates who are ready for work and updating employees' skills throughout their careers," said Sierra College President Willy Duncan. Sierra will use the $300,000 in grant money to extend that customized training to other community colleges and high schools in the area. They plan to implement new training programs at schools throughout El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo and Yuba counties. "This grant will make it possible to expand our collaboration with employers in the Advanced Manufacturing sector and work closely with nearby community colleges to meet the needs of manufacturers," Duncan said.

According to the State of California Employment Development Department there were approximately 85,000 people employed in manufacturing companies with an annual payroll of $4.9 billion during 2011. The Doing What Matters organization hopes to reinforce and capitalize on that sector of California's economy by ensuring that the workforce of the future is properly trained to fill the necessary advanced manufacturing positions. "Globalization and rapid technology advances have reshaped jobs so technicians must have more advanced skills to operate and maintain computerized machinery, and perform complex manufacturing tasks," said Pepper-Kittredge.

The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies joins a growing number of schools worldwide who are putting a heavy focus on advanced manufacturing techniques. England has updated their national curriculum to introduce students as young as eleven years old to additive manufacturing and the City X project is working with children even younger than that.