Sussex County Community College (SCCC) recently made a property purchase in continuing effort to meet local need and specific job market opportunities. In July of 2018 SCCC began leasing the former McGuire car dealership in downtown Newton. The College looked to use the new location to expand the automotive, building construction, and welding programs, and over time, the Culinary Institute, Diesel Technology, and Machine Tool Technology programs. The intent at the time was for Sussex to lease, then purchase the property.
In December 2019 the College's Board of Trustees approved the sale of the property.
"This is a great opportunity for the College to meet the short and long term needs of the community," said Dr. Jon Connolly, SCCC President. "It's a perfect example of how a private-public partnership can work to the advantage of the residents."
The President noted that the purchase was predominately a result of Chapter 12 funding and grants, as well as private donations. Additionally, Sean and Michael McGuire made a significant contribution for the naming rights to the facility.
The McGuire Technical Education Center on Main Street, near the College’s main campus, is a 2.7-acre parcel with room for classrooms, office space and lab space. The proximity of the Center to the main Sussex campus is ideal for students who will be required to take classes at both locations.
"What we are doing already and what we are going to accomplish moving forward at the McGuire facility is in tune with what's really needed not just here, but throughout the country," said Bill Curcio, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Quoting from a Wall Street Journal story, he added that there is a growing need for highly educated workers for manufacturing jobs. Curcio credited his predecessor Board Chair, Lorraine Parker, as well as former Trustee Bernard Andrews, and current Board Treasurer Michael Speckhardt, as being instrumental in making the purchase happen.
Overall, the technical programs offered at Sussex will train students who can then enter the workforce in two years. For area businesses such as Thorlabs, which requires a large number of their employees trained in Machine Tool Technology, this is an ideal fit.
"We are definitely taking into account our businesses in the county and surrounding areas as well as their needs when developing new programs," said Dr. Connolly.
Additional plans include bringing the Culinary Institute to the Center, a program designed with a similar curriculum as institutions such as the Culinary Institute of America. On the horizon are plans for a small restaurant in the Center, which would allow students to perform their coursework in a real setting.
For more about the programs offered at the College's McGuire Technical Education Center visit sussex.edu.