Schools Develop Common Curriculum for Machining

CANFIELD, Ohio – Educators from the area’s career centers have developed a curriculum for an adult machining technology program intended to certify students in five metalworking disciplines.

“All four of the career and technical centers will be rolling out an exact common curriculum for 900 hours of machining,” says Terry Hutson, assistant director of adult education at Columbiana County Career and Technical Center. “That means all of the students will have all of the same courses.”

Hutson made the announcement at the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition’s quarterly meeting Friday. The coalition was formed more than three years ago to address the declining interest among young people considering careers in the manufacturing trades.

Many companies that belong the coalition found that traditional machining programs graduated students proficient in some areas of machining, but not necessarily all of them, Hutson notes.

“Now, every employer will know that all of these students were taught the same thing,” she says. “It’s important for employers.”

Hutson adds it’s important that the four career centers – Columbiana, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Trumbull County Career and Technical Center, and Choffin Career and Technical Center – stagger the programs so that students exit training at different times. That way, employers have a continuous fresh pool of applicants for jobs, she says.

Under the program, students would undergo 900 hours of study over two semesters. Each student would also engage in 225 hours of practical, hands-on experience in the machine trades through externships. “The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition has allowed that to happen,” Hutson says. “It’s a great experience.”

Students who complete the program would be awarded five certificates that show they meet the standards of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, or NIMS. These are certifications in measurement, materials and safety; manual milling skills; turning between centers; turning chucking skills; and drill press skills.

“This was one of our primary goals when we started this coalition,” says Dave Hughes, president of Specialty Fab Inc. in North Lima and a founding member of the coalition. “We’ve accomplished this goal.”

Mahoning and Trumbull counties plan to start their programs in August and have begun recruiting students. Choffin and Columbiana will also recruit, but their programs don’t begin until October or November, Hutson says.

The coalition heard updates from members related to programs such as educators in the manufacturing workplace, manufacturing readiness, the application of adult basic learning programs to the manufacturing sector and the status of a grant application that seeks funds for new apprenticeship programs.

Matt Joing of Butech Bliss in Salem, reports the manufacturers coalition has submitted an application for a U.S. Department of Labor grant that would provide just under $3 million to cover the costs for 300 apprentices in the program over five years.

The federal government has made available about $100 million that would fund 25 grants to revitalize apprenticeship programs across the country.

“I think we’re very well-positioned” for one of the grants, he says. A decision on the grant awards is Despite the tight supply of qualified workers in the manufacturing trades, educators are seeing an improvement in enrollment in these programs.

“Something is happening here,” observes Joe Meranto, director at Choffin, noting that his school’s precision manufacturing programs are nearly filled. “Word is getting out, and we’ve got kids from Ursuline and Mooney – the parochial schools – who are joining up for the first time.”

During Friday’s meeting, the manufacturers coalition introduced a handful of new companies and organizations that have joined: ARS Recycling Systems in Lowellville, Latrobe Specialty Metals in Vienna, Dinesol Plastics in Austintown, McDonald Steel Corp. in McDonald, The Northern Ohio Chapter of the National Safety Council based in Youngstown, Tradesmen International, which has an office in Austintown, and TruCut, based in Sebring.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.