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College gets nod in State of the Union address

President urges business-college partnerships like those in Louisville

Innovative community college and business partnerships such as Metropolitan College drew the attention of President Obama in Tuesday s State of the Union speech.

Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job, Obama said. My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

Although not mentioned by name in the speech, Metropolitan College was a topic of conversation when Dr. Tony Newberry, president of Jefferson Community amp; Technical College and Michael Francesconi, vice president for UPS, were invited to the historic White House Summit on Community Colleges in October 2010. Newberry was one of about only 20 community college presidents invited to attend the summit. There are nearly 1,200 community colleges in the United States.

Congressman John Yarmuth s office confirmed that the President s reference was to the partnership.

Metropolitan College has been such highly successful partnership in terms of both workforce retention and academic success that it serves as a model for other cities, Newberry said. We were pleased to be able to present this partnership at the White House and pleased that it obviously made an impact on the President.

The partnership involves UPS, JCTC and the University of Louisville. It was created in 1998 in collaboration with state and local government as UPS was planning the expansion of its air division and package sorting hub. Metropolitan College hires students to work in its Next Day Air operation. Students receive wages, full benefits as well as paid tuition at either JCTC or U of L, book reimbursements and academic and work-related bonuses. The program ensures that UPS has an adequate workforce by both attracting and retaining employees. It also eliminates financial barriers to attending college.

In addition, JCTC has numerous other partnerships with businesses, including Ford, Toyota and Norton Healthcare.
The college has played an integral role in training employees on Ford s new line at the Fern Valley Road plant. Its automotive technology program partnership with Toyota, which serves students and dealerships in a six-state region, was recently recognized by Toyota as one of its leading programs. In addition, the college has partnerships with Norton Healthcare to training allied health and nursing professional in numerous disciplines.

Our partnerships allow us to be innovative and to serve the needs both students and employers, Newberry said. By partnering with business and industry we can ensure that employers have the skills and the employees they need. It also helps us design programs that lead to high-growth, high-wage wages; the kind the president wants us to pursue.

Jefferson also is emerging as a partner in the new Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, created by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to promote bringing advanced manufacturing to the region