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Arizona launches ‘Drive48’ to train people for open manufacturing jobs

(Twitter photo/@azcommerce)

PHOENIX – Arizona and other entities have partnered to launch a state-of-the-art facility meant to train Arizonans to fill open manufacturing jobs and help meet industry demand.

Located in Coolidge, “Drive 48” features cutting-edge robots and multiple hands-on training rooms that will help quickly and efficiently train program participants, allowing them to hit the ground running.

“All this kind of training that you would need on the job from day one, they can come in with that,” Patrick Ptak, senior vice president of executive initiatives at the Arizona Commerce Authority, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“There is no time lost for the company or the student. They can jump right in there.”

Training ranges from using machinery, parts assembly, machine maintenance and even safety training.

Ptak described the 13,000-square-foot facility as a unique collaboration between local governments such as Casa Grande and Pinal County, academia (Central Arizona College), and industry (Lucid Motors), which helped create the program’s curriculum and training.

“We want to make sure that with all these manufacturing jobs coming online in the next couple years that there is a workforce there to meet the demand,” Ptak said.

Major companies including Intel, Benchmark Electronics, Lucid Motors and others have recently announced relocations or expansions to Arizona.

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, there are currently more than 180,000 Arizonans employed in the manufacturing industry where “jobs pay on average 21% more than other private-sector jobs.”

The faculty has the capacity to train up to 100 individuals at any given time, however, it currently operates at a limited capacity due to COVID-19 protocols.

Those interested in participating in the training program are asked to contact Central Arizona College or the Arizona Commerce Authority.

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