In response to demand for workers with technical manufacturing skills, Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina is launching a center it hopes will prepare displaced workers for new jobs and help attract new industry to the area, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. The Center of Excellence for Integrated System Technology, which opens this fall, will offer an eight-week, 200-hour program teaching students how to repair sophisticated manufacturing equipment, including robotic machines and other computerized devices. "It's going to help provide badly needed workers in this sophisticated field for the manufacturers in our area," CPCC president Tony Zeiss told the Business Journal. "We are hoping it will help attract more manufacturers to the Charlotte area because we will be able to give them a reliable supply of skilled workers." The center, patterned after training programs in Illinois and Ohio, is being touted as the first of its type in the Southeast. The program will be housed in the Advanced Technology Center building on CPCC's Central Campus. At the outset, the center will retrain as many as 40 displaced workers. An apprenticeship program also is being developed.