What does it take to become a high-tech, advanced manufacturing hub? It starts with the right talent. That’s exactly what Valencia College aims to provide with the new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Osceola County.

Located next door to the build site for the BRIDG facility, the center will directly impact the region by providing skilled workers to the region’s manufacturing companies. The proximity of the center to BRIDG and other manufacturing leaders, creates an atmosphere of collaboration and innovative learning for Orlando’s budding advanced manufacturing industry.

The idea of collaboration and partnership is nothing new to Orlando – BRIDG was born of a collaborative effort. The new training center was a community effort, including the partnership of established businesses like Lockheed Martin and Siemens contributing to the growth and future of the facility.

“With about 12,000 employees across Florida, it’s critical for Lockheed Martin to have a pipeline of highly skilled people for our future workforce,” said Pat Sunderlin, vice president of Lockheed Martin. “Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and its strong local partnerships will help keep the region competitive for jobs and new business through the development of workers proficient in high-tech production processes.”

Siemens PLM software provided an academic grant to train students with real-world software that is used in the manufacturing industry. Worth $63 million commercially, the software will prepare students for the workforce in the automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding and high-tech electronics industries.

The 17,000-square-foot facility features two smart-technology classrooms, four labs for hands-on training (a welding lab, a machining lab, an assembly lab and a quality lab), a conference room, workstations, a study lounge and a tool crib for parts storage and inventory control.

The new advanced manufacturing training center will focus on providing training for currently unemployed and underemployed workers, veterans, women and those who are looking to pursue a career in the advanced manufacturing industry.

According to the Manufacturers Association of Florida, there are more than 5,000 open manufacturing jobs in Orlando and that number continues to grow. This new training facility is a great leap in the right direction by providing the right talent to fill that need, as well as moving toward becoming the next advanced manufacturing hub.