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TCC, IMS Gear celebrate partnership

Tidewater Community College will celebrate a unique partnership with three Hampton Roads businesses on June 4.

The college will host an event at IMS Gear Virginia Inc. in Virginia Beach at 9 a.m.
IMS Gear, a high performance manufacturer of automotive parts, and TCC combined resources to offer advanced training to a group of assembly line machinists seeking career advancement. TCC provided the curriculum taught by instructor Rick Dyer, and IMS Gear Virginia Inc. provided the lab space and necessary machinery at no cost.
Twenty-six employees of IMS Gear Virginia Inc. applied, and six were accepted into the pilot program. In addition, IMS Gear invited local companies Sumitomo Machinery Corp of America in Chesapeake and Busch LLC in Virginia Beach to participate, and the inaugural class grew to 12.
“Our recent partnership with IMS Gear is another example of the college and area businesses collaborating to identify and fulfill a significant employer need in Hampton Roads,” said TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. “This model is particularly relevant for small- and medium-sized employers who might not have the resources to provide direct skills training to their workforce or who might not have the need for a full-scale apprenticeship program. We foresee many opportunities where TCC will deliver the type of training necessary for workforce development in fields beyond manufacturing, such as health care, information technology and the service sector.”
The curriculum culminated with the students producing actual parts based on the products of their respective companies.
“What we’re doing here is something unique,” said Guenter Weissenseel, president of IMS Gear. “Offering my machines was my way of giving back to the community. I’m looking forward to working more with TCC.”
TCC will recognize the 12 students who completed the first phase of the training at the June 4 ceremony. Completion of a second phase of the program this fall will prepare the students to take the national certification from National Institute for Metalworking Skills.
For information, contact Henry Cobb, associate vice president for the Center for Workforce Solutions, at