Making Another Industry-School Connection

The positive vibe for making manufacturing stronger through educational outreach programs is ringing from coast to coast.

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I love when news crosses my desk and the announcement is about how an industry supplier company or mold manufacturer is providing guidance and/or support to a local school or community college to make that school’s metalworking curriculum better.

One example is a press release I received last week about Big Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., a global supplier of high-precision tooling systems and solutions for the metal-cutting industry, and how it made a special donation to the Precision Machining program at Plymouth Community Schools in Plymouth, Indiana. The Plymouth Community Schools program is the result of a public-private consortium supported by ITAMCO (Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Company), Ivy Tech Community College, NCAVC (North Central Area Vocational Cooperative) and Plymouth Community Schools. The group’s mission is to better prepare students for the demands of today's technology-driven jobs. Its precision machining classes are conducted at ITAMCO’s Manufacturing Education School Service Center, or IMESSC, in Plymouth.

Back to that donation. If you’re into NASCAR racing – or even if you aren’t, I think – the name Andretti is not unfamiliar. It was Andretti Autosport in Indianapolis that went to its supplier partner, Big Kaiser, to purchase a new Speroni Magis tool presetting and measuring system, making its older model available for donation to a local school’s machining program. According to the press release, the Plymouth Community Schools program mirrors a curriculum at Ivy Tech South Bend, called The Machine Tool Institute, and provides students with a solid foundation of hands-on training for careers in precision machining and related metalworking occupations. The program includes training on manual lathes and mills and moves through to more sophisticated CNC machine operation. NIMS certification enables the students to earn dual credits for high school and for Ivy Tech.

“Every student leaves the program with a minimum skill set of manual mill and lathe setup experience, blueprint reading including GD&T, and precision measurement use,” says Scott Kaser, instructor at Plymouth Community School. “The addition of the Speroni TMS gives the student a well-rounded skill level of all the possible ways tools could be setup in a CNC production environment.”

Giving the students an additional thrill, the machine was embellished with the Andretti race team logo and signed by racing legend Michael Andretti as well as current team drivers Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. “BIG KAISER is a strong supporter of manufacturing education and workforce development, and we needed a home for this presetter,” explains Doug Sumner, product manager for Tool Measuring Systems at Big Kaiser. “It was great that we could donate the machine in Indiana, support the kids at Plymouth High School, and get the team branding from our partners at Andretti Autosport.”

I know there are many other, similar things happening across North America. The positive vibe for making manufacturing stronger through educational outreach programs is ringing from coast to coast. Stick with MMT throughout the year to read about trade organizations, businesses and schools that are reaping the benefits of collaboration and, together, putting a spotlight on manufacturing career viability.

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