BELDEN Itawamba Community College’s Belden Center is now one of five regional training hubs for Illinois-based Advanced Technology Services.

ICC President Dr. Jay Allen and ATS Technical Training Manager Ben Patterson, who is conducting the new model of instructional delivery at the Belden Center, inked a memorandum of understanding during a short ceremony Tuesday morning at the ICC Belden Center. Allen said programs like those offered by ATS are the Belden Center’s reason for being.

“It allows us to continue to do what we’re doing every day, which is to increase the skill level of our incumbent workers and new people in that pipeline of industrial maintenance technology,” Allen said of the agreement.

ICC has already worked with ATS, allowing them to rent space at the Belden Center and bring in their own trainers. The new agreement will allow ATS to reduce cost and increase the volume of courses offered, since ICC will now provide instructors to teach courses on an as-needed basis, Allen said.

Patterson said he looks forward to the great things that will come from the partnership for both ICC and ATS.

“At ATS, we pride ourselves in employee development and strive every year to continually make it better,” Patterson said. “Industrial maintenance training is the key to increased productivity.”

ATS is a leading solutions provider in reliability-centered industrial maintenance based in Peoria, Illinois. The company’s four other hubs are located in Peoria and Schaumburg, Illinois, Greenville, South Carolina, and Longview, Texas.

The company will provide weekly skilled maintenance training at the Belden campus for its regional team, but will also open those classes to other area businesses and industries, Dr. Joe Lowder, ICC’s dean of economic and community services, said.

ICC will provide classroom space and instructors while marketing the courses to other companies to help ATS accomplish its goal.

With the addition of the Tupelo hub, which covers 12 ATS sites located in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, 80% of the ATS workforce will now be within a four-hour drive of a center.

ATS partner companies in Northeast Mississippi include Cooper Tire in Tupelo, Borg Warner in Water Valley and Southwire in Starkville. Other companies ATS works with are NTN Bower, Mercedes, Trinity Rail, Eaton, Caterpillar and Sloan Valve.

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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