The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation recently awarded a three-year $105,000 grant to Delaware Technical Community College to grow manufacturing training and education in Kent and Sussex counties. The Foundation is the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms.

“This is about educating and exciting people about manufacturing and creating a pipeline to connect them with manufacturing careers to support and fuel the manufacturing industry,” said Dr. Ileana Smith, vice president and Owens Campus director. “This partnership spans the state of Delaware, and having an industry leader like Perdue supporting us means so much to this endeavor.”

The grant will provide Delaware Tech’s Owens and Terry campuses with expanded program offerings beyond the current Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Program that is available to high school juniors and seniors. Both campuses will use the grant to purchase the next phase of manufacturing equipment and to fund scholarships to expand the program offerings at the Woodbridge Manufacturing Lab in Bridgeville. Workforce training and education opportunities will be made available to incumbent workers in the manufacturing field, as well as displaced workers seeking retraining.

“We provide jobs, but we need the trained and skilled associates to fill those jobs,” said Randy Day, chief operating officer of Perdue Farms. “We recognize this program will provide the skill and training for a job field that is in high demand. We value the opportunity to help Delaware Tech and the workforce of tomorrow.”

Delaware Tech expanded the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Program in 2015 with Woodbridge and Seaford school districts in Sussex County and with Capital School District (Dover) in Kent County in 2016. The career paths are manufacturing logistics, production, and engineering. Programs are now available in all three Delaware counties.

Delaware Tech recently received a Program Exemplary Award from the National Council for Workforce Education for the Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Program.