New Jersey community colleges, in concert with businesses and the state, are rolling out two "schools on wheels" to train students in vital manufacturing skills that are badly needed by small manufacturers.

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Sivaraman Anbarasan, executive director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, said each six-ton mobile training lab will fill a skills gap. He said New Jersey businesses, in particular small manufacturers, find they have job openings they cannot fill.

"We designed a program based on what they need in their shops, and we have been recruiting and training unemployed people in the state to meet those needs," Anbarasan said.

Of particular demand: training in metal fabrication as well as mechatronics, a design process that combines a number of engineering skills, including mechanical and electrical engineering. Qualifications for both fields remain in high demand in New Jersey. Both mobile labs, the first of their kind in the state, will have 384-square-foot classrooms equipped with computers.

So far, the initiative has trained 97 New Jerseyans, and 80 percent of those people have found employment. The hope is that these mobile training facilities will help bring the necessary job skills to applicants who are interested in these fields.

"We can bring it to anywhere in the state, to train people that are in the local neighborhood," Anbarasan said.