Festo Didactic, P&HCC solidify partnership to strengthen the local talent pipeline

May 25, 2022

Dr. Greg Hodges, president of P&HCC and Tony Oran, VP of sales for Festo Didactic North America at the signing. 

Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) and its industry partner Festo Didactic are taking another leap forward in their combined efforts to prepare students for the future of work. A signing ceremony was held May 24 to solidify a formal agreement between Festo Didactic and P&HCC that will deepen and expand their existing strategic partnership. The signing signifies a new chapter for the partners in their ability to strengthen the local talent pipeline by exploring the possibility of extending into secondary schools, and by agreeing to increase overall resources for training equipment and professional development at P&HCC.

“P&HCC's partnerships with Festo Didactic and NC3 have played an important role in the economic renaissance occurring within our service region. This work has been central in our community's ability to land recent major economic development projects,” said Greg Hodges, President of PP&HCC.

“This expanded partnership between Patrick & Henry Community College and Festo demonstrates the continued commitment our institution has to meeting our region's workforce needs," Hodges continued. "Career and technical education programs have never been in higher demand, and thanks to Festo and NC3, P&HCC has become a national leader in industry certifications helping to fill these essential pipelines. We’re excited to take this work to an even greater level.”

Local employer, Warren Rodgers from Ten Oaks, was also attended the signing. “The NC3 Festo Certified Industry 4.0 associate training provides the foundational knowledge our team needs for troubleshooting, servicing and maintaining the high-tech manufacturing equipment currently in use, and the additional capital investments planned for the future," Rodgers said. "We will certainly take advantage of the additional opportunities this partnership offers to grow the skills of our workforce.”

In 2020, P&HCC was recognized as an NC3 and Festo Center of Excellence in the Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 sector.

“The Patrick & Henry Mechatronics, Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Program, and future STEM Hub is a national benchmark that exemplifies a Center of Excellence culture for world-class instructors, leadership, and facilities,” said Roger Tadajewski, executive director for the National Coalition of Certifications Centers (NC3).

Aspirations for the STEM hub are well-aligned with Festo Didactic’s industry expertise and K-12 learning solutions. Festo’s eLearning curriculum, bionics and hands-on trainers emphasize innovation, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity and focus on three core areas: environmental discovery, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing. The Integrative STEM program consists of learning experiences in which students apply knowledge to solve real-world problems and provide strong connections in the classroom to actual workplace scenarios, demonstrating what innovative jobs of the future will look like. 

“P&HCC is an exemplary school that shares our passion for lifelong learning and supporting career paths that will close the skills gap,” said Tony Oran, vice president of sales for Festo Didactic North America. “We could not be more proud or more excited to officially move our collaboration forward with Patrick & Henry Community College.”