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Oakland Community College, Michigan

Congratulations to Oakland Community College for being chosen as NC3’s January 2022 School on the Rise! Oakland Community College, located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan has been an NC3 Leadership School since 2016! With an incredible staff and an astonishing 44 industry certifications to choose from, OCC students have everything they need to start a successful career in the trades. 

Being in such close proximity to Detroit, it’s no wonder why Oakland Community College has had such impressive success with their CTE programs. Since joining NC3’s network in 2016, OCC has issued over 1000 industry certifications to students in Bloomfield Hills and the surrounding communities! 

Oakland Community College’s introduction to NC3 started with rather straightforward beginnings. Claude Townsend, Automotive Instructor and NC3 Master Instructor recounts how it arose. He says, OCC was in the process of purchasing equipment for their automotive program and the dean at the time introduced me to NC3. I had heard about it and wanted to get involved so I went to my first Train-the-Trainer in Phoenix for Torque in 2015.”

Since then, Oakland Community College has displayed incredible growth and expansion in three different NC3 Certification Programs: Snap-on, Lincoln Electric, and Trane.

With technical skills being in high demand in their area, OCC recognizes that their students greatly benefit from NC3’s industry certifications. Cameron Berrier, Welding and Fabrication Instructor, explains how these credentials help his students stand apart from the competition. He says, 

“Industry certifications, in my opinion, are door knockers. They get you into the industry because they show that you are willing to listen, willing to put in the effort, and trainable. Those who put in that extra effort to earn certifications are the ones that I would personally hire over someone else. It shows that the student has a work ethic that seems to be dwindling away these days. The certifications definitely play a part in showing a personal side of those who are willing to learn.”

Claude extends that belief by explaining what earning industry certifications bring to students on a personal level. He says, 

“Earning certifications is a huge confidence booster to students. It’s a credential that they can earn on their way to obtaining their degree. When they go through the class, it’s something that they didn’t already know and when they pass a certification exam, that’s a huge accomplishment for them. What’s really cool is that they can put it on their resume and when the employer asks about the certification, the tension of the interview is gone because the student can talk about what they know and what they’ve done to receive that credential.”

Oakland Community College only recently launched their Lincoln Electric Program amidst the pandemic in 2020 but their students are already benefiting from the credentials they’ve earned! Cameron says, 

“We had one student who just completed our welding program and she ended up getting a great job at a manufacturing company that makes car washes. She went into the interview with her Lincoln Electric Certifications and has had such a positive impact at the facility that the company now wants to partner with us to hire more graduates and set up an internship program!”

Community engagement is a large part of what makes Oakland Community College’s CTE Programs such a success. They’ve partnered with an astounding number of local businesses to place students in internships that fit their needs and interests. Claude explains, 

“We work with large dealer groups and small independent businesses for internships and scholarships. What I do is try to place students geographically so that they don’t have to drive very far to get to work. Students are trying to make and save money so we don’t want them to have to spend that money on gas and drive time. Having partnerships with multiple different businesses in the area allows us the opportunity to place students in the disciplines that they’re interested in. Being in ‘Motor City’, we’ve been able to accrue about 400 local contacts to work with.” 

NC3 Certifications are beneficial for both students and instructors. Attending NC3’s Train-the-Trainer gives instructors the unique opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn alongside peers from around the country! Claude, an NC3 Master Instructor, says,

“Train-the-Trainer is an outstanding program. The reason being is that it allows us as instructors to take something that we’re already teaching and pair a certification with it using a validated curriculum. The students get standardized instruction out of it and they come away with a certificate.”

Cameron adds to that statement by saying, “NC3 Certifications are great because there are guidelines but also the freedom to implement the curriculum to fit your class. It keeps the students moving, occupied, and interested. It’s a great thing for students.”

As an NC3 Leadership School, Oakland Community College was also able to make great use of the consultation and facility planning from NC3 and our industry partners to upgrade their automotive facility. Claude explains,

“We’re going on three years of having our facility renovated and what’s really cool is we worked with NC3 and Snap-on on signage and all of the equipment. With everybody’s help seeing the vision, we were able to build a really nice lab and 3 years later, it still looks as good as it did when we took possession of it. The students and parents get really excited when they see our labs because it’s not what they picture an auto shop being.”

What makes Oakland Community College stand out amongst other institutions in their region? Claude shares his opinion by saying, “Oakland Community College is the only institution in southeast Michigan that offers certifications. What’s really awesome is the administration and the support staff that care about the students and provide resources to help them. It’s huge for us.”

Oakland Community College has goals to expand its CTE programs even further! With an electric vehicle class and a new diesel truck program in the works, OCC students will have more opportunities for success than ever before.

Thank you, Oakland Community College, for being an exemplary NC3 Leadership School! We’re proud to award you the designation of NC3’s January 2022 School on the Rise and we’re excited to be part of your continued success.

Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in February 2022!

Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985,

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