AT&T donates $150,000 to HFCC for job training program

DEARBORN — AT&T donated $150,000 to Henry Ford Community College to support the Michigan Alliance for High Skills Training – an industry-led job training program announced earlier this year.

The program is a public-private partnership, made up of a business coalition formed by AT&T, including Capital Communications, Goodman Networks, Lineage Power, Quanta Services and Telecom Technicians, and HFCC. The job retraining program will be available to displaced workers and interested students in Michigan later this year.

The announcement was made at a reception Thursday to celebrate the launch of the alliance where federal, state and local officials, along with area education and community leaders, joined AT&T and the other members of the alliance on the HFCC campus.

The program supports efforts by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other Michigan leaders, as well as the Obama administration, to engage businesses in the education and retraining of displaced workers.

“Michigan has the infrastructure and the workforce to help our country rebuild itself through new technology, and I am pleased to see President (Barack) Obama and the administration recognize that and encouraged a program such as this,” said U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn. “Michigan has served as the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ and put the world on wheels, and there is no doubt in my mind that we can lead the country in any of the new, high tech industries on the horizon.”

“We have a unique opportunity to help lead Michigan and the country in developing the workforce of the future, and we are proud to be a part of it,” HFCC President Gail Mee, said. “Michigan workers have been struggling for some time and now is our chance to help them learn new skills and take Michigan from the brink to the cutting edge.”

“The leadership we have in Washington and in Lansing has recognized the tremendous assets we have in our community colleges and we are thrilled to be able to partner with one of the best to put this program together,” AT&T Michigan James Murray said. “We have valuable resources here in Michigan – from the schools to our workforce – and companies like ours, the others in the alliance and the entire state will benefit from this program for years into the future.”

Thursday’s announcement capped off a two-day curriculum summit held at HFCC, during which the business alliance began crafting the curriculum that will be part of the program and available to students beginning in the fall. The goal of the program is to develop core competencies and skills to retrain workers for 21st century jobs.

“This week’s summit was important to get all of us in the same room and start really getting into the details of the curriculum we are creating,” said Jon Somes, president and chief executive officer of Telecom Technicians Inc. “We are working with an amazing group of businesses and a great school, so we are excited to see the progress so far.”

“Lineage is proud to share our expertise of powering global telecommunications, computing and data storage equipment with Henry Ford Community College and Michigan’s workforce to help build the next-generation Mobile Internet,” Lineage Power CEO Craig Witsoe said. “The Lineage Power Total Efficiency technology, combined with the educational resources and people talent in Michigan is a great example of public-private partnerships advancing 21st century job opportunities.”

The program’s curriculum will include a mixture of classes HFCC currently provides in business and technology, as well as new classes created out of the input provided to the school by the business alliance at the summit.

“The program will be robust and challenging, offering students the opportunity to learn a wide variety of new skills which can help them in the future,” said Kenneth Trawick, president – telecommunications division, Quanta Services. “In return, the skills the students will come away with will benefit the community and the state of Michigan in the long run.”