New manufacturing training program in works for Charlevoix
Advanced Clean Air Technologies Global (ACAT Global), a Charlevoix-based manufacturer of catalytic converter components, is working with Charlevoix Public Schools, Baker College of Cadillac and Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District on a computer numerical control (CNC) program intended for launch this fall.
The "CNC Center for Excellence," located in the Charlevoix High School machine laboratory, would include certificate and associate degree options, with some students possibly funded through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill.
The new CNC program aims to addresses a critical issue for Michigan's workforce by providing education for workers in the advanced manufacturing technology field, supplying skilled labor for the numerous manufacturing companies located in the state, with specific plans to target veterans.
"Veterans are a tremendous resource for employers, and I feel we can address the shortage of skilled CNC machinists by creating a program that brings together veterans retraining programs, educators and industry," said Joseph A. Moch, president and CEO of ACAT Global and Oliver Racing Parts, another company supporting the new CNC program. "We need to create a new image of 21st century manufacturing and encourage more people to consider advanced manufacturing, CNC and CAD/CAM engineering as a career."
Mark Lagerway, dean of business and technology at Baker College of Cadillac, noted that the skills needed for manufacturing employment have evolved through the years.
"Manufacturing jobs are not the repetitive-assembly jobs of the past," Lagerway said. "From CNC operators to engineers, today's manufacturing jobs require technical communication and problem-solving skills, and industry and education must work together to prepare both our current and future workforce."
Baker College of Cadillac. currently offers a one-year CNC operator certificate program and is adding a two-year associate degree in advanced manufacturing technology this fall. Baker College is looking to bring this curriculum to Charlevoix High School, renting its lab and providing an instructor. Baker College and Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District are already collaborating extensively through an Early College Program that dual-enrolls high school students in Baker College courses. ACAT Global, Aria Group, Inc., Oliver Racing Parts and other companies will connect students to the manufacturing community.
"We're fortunate that Charlevoix High School has a state-of-the-art laboratory already in place, and our relationship with the school district is well established," said Kelly Smith, Baker College of Cadillac president. "We fully support the focus on bringing veterans into the program, and we appreciate the participation of the Veterans' Services Division and the Department of Labor apprenticeship program. Baker College is well-versed in administering the array of veterans' funding programs for students at our campuses throughout Michigan."
To offer CNC operator and advanced manufacturing technology programs in Charlevoix, Baker is currently seeking approvals from the Higher Learning Commission and the U.S. Department of Education.
ACAT Global is also involved with educational programs at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, the University of California at Davis, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, providing real-world experience for students in engineering and metallurgy.