Oakton College and Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) Create New Career Pathways

Pictured (L-R): Ileo Lott, Ed.D., Oakton College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D., Oakton College President; Patrick Osborne, President, Technology & Manufacturing Association; and Jack Krikorian, Senior Director of Training and Education, Technology & Manufacturing Association.
Oakton and TMA partner to better support students and local employers

Skokie (Oct. 4, 2023) - Oakton College and the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) are expanding their partnership to create additional opportunities for students to quickly prepare for in-demand manufacturing careers. Leaders from both Oakton and the TMA signed the Manufacturing Training Partnership Agreement at Oakton’s Skokie campus on Oct. 4.

The agreement allows students to complete a series of courses at Oakton or TMA that will qualify as completing the first year of a TMA apprenticeship in advanced automation. Students who complete the TMA Advanced Automation program will receive a certificate from Oakton and TMA. This expands the number of available apprenticeship pathways from three to four. Students can also pursue apprenticeships as tool and die makers, mold makers or CNC programmers by completing courses either at Oakton or through the TMA.

“By working with an industry-recognized partner like TMA, we are able to support more students, provide them with more learning opportunities, and better prepare them for entering the workforce,” said Boguslaw Zapal, Oakton’s Computer-Integrated Manufacturing coordinator and professor.

The agreement will also allow students to receive up to 18 credit hours for training they received from the TMA toward an associate degree or certificate in Computer-Integrated Manufacturing at Oakton College. At least half of the credits earned for most credentials must be completed at Oakton. Both organizations committed to offering students job-seeking assistance after they complete their credentials. The agreement also adds a pathway to a certificate in advanced automation for TMA students.

TMA is an independent trade association exclusively focused on assisting and promoting small and midsize manufacturers. The organization partners with manufacturers to assist them in maintaining and growing their businesses by providing practical solutions, including training, education and certification.

“We are happy to have had a relationship with Oakton since 2014. This new collaboration establishing a first-year curriculum through our four different apprenticeship pathways allows us to increase enrollment to better serve our member companies,” said Jack Krikorian, TMA senior director of Training and Education. “This agreement will also give TMA-trained students a pathway to pursue a certificate or degree at Oakton.”

As Oakton is a Northern Illinois Workforce Coalition (NIWC) member, students can enroll at Oakton at the in-district tuition rate, regardless of where they live. The apprenticeships are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, which means they are nationally recognized.

Modern manufacturing needs talented and highly skilled people to fulfill specialized and challenging roles, ranging from precise CNC machining to designing, programming and maintaining automation systems. To learn more about educational opportunities at Oakton, please visit Oakton’s website.