“What everyone in the world wants is a good job.” ― Gallup Chairman, Jim Clifton from “The Coming Jobs War

In his book, Clifton describes “how this undeniable fact will affect all leadership decisions as countries wage war to produce the best jobs.” He says “No business is trying to create jobs. They are all (working on) creating customers. Because jobs always follow customers.”

As part of the Dallas County Community College District, I don’t think this point can be overstated. Roughly 500,000 Dallas County residents live below the poverty level, which means they don’t have family-sustaining incomes. In my opinion, this results in the ongoing disintegration of the family and the root of many of our nation’s difficulties.

Nothing we do as educational professionals is more important than preparing our customers/students for the tech-savvy workplace. Advanced Technologies permeate every industry today: Healthcare, Construction, Service/Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics, etc. Hands-on education and industry-specific credentialing is the quickest path to a good job.

America’s network of community and technical colleges is the key to filling those jobs and shoring up the skills gap. The National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC) represents the “best-of-the-best” institutions that are filling this crucial need.

 It is my sincere honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve as NCATC Board President for our 30th Year Anniversary. As someone whose experiences in NCATC range from attending meetings as an exhibitor/presenter back in the mid-90’s and marveling at the talent and presence of its leaders, attending as a representative of a technical college, joining the Board, and then recently assuming the role of president, I’ve always viewed NCATC as the preeminent advanced manufacturing technology group.

But, NCATC can still improve, increase its relevancy, and have an even greater influence on workforce development across the country. Specifically, we want your Coalition to be inclusive, inviting and responsive to your needs. Help us craft the NCATC message and direction this year – it’s your organization!

NCATC’s membership is comprised of 170 colleges and 30 Strategic Partner Alliance companies representing “heavyweights” in advanced manufacturing. NCATC continually seeks news on current and emerging trends in advanced technology and manufacturing from its membership. Each member has a shared responsibility to keep the network informed about what is happening in their region; particularly in-demand services and emerging trends. Sharing what clients are telling you is at the forefront, in terms of training/curriculum, equipment, safety, trends and emerging technologies. The more you share, the richer we can make the information exchange across the network.

We have two fantastic venues for our 2018 gatherings. Our Summer Workshop, in partnership with the Fabricators and Manufacturer’s Association, will be hosted by our friends at College of the Canyons in beautiful Santa Clarita CA, June 4-5. Then we return to our roots, as two of our founding member colleges, Cuyahoga and Lorain County, co-host the 30th Anniversary Fall Conference. If not Cali, see you in Cleveland!

Nick Graff
2018 NCATC Board President