Preparing high school students for careers in manufacturing

Macomb County businesses have joined forces to partner with the SME Education Foundation and the Michigan Manufacturers Association to make education opportunities available for students of Fraser High School. Dominion Technologies

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Announcement of the new partnership

Group, I.F. Metalworks, Fori Automation, General Motors, Oakley Industries and Superior Heat Treat LLC will collaborate through SME’s “Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education” (PRIME) initiative to develop and launch an advanced manufacturing education program at Fraser. The program will start in the 2018-19 academic year.

PRIME builds a collaborative network of students, educators and industry professionals to provide high school students with advanced manufacturing career pathways, inspiring and informing their interest and awareness in manufacturing. The national program provides students with practical experience, knowledge and skills using state-of-the-art technology and equipment, while allowing companies to support the career direction of youth through mentoring, internships and job shadowing.

“It started with one phone call: I wanted our schools to be a part of the opportunities the SME Education Foundation PRIME schools initiative provides,” said David M. Richards, PhD, superintendent of Fraser Public Schools. “The support we’ve received from our business community, county government and the state in this quest has been phenomenal; our students and community will benefit as a direct result.”

 

Alliances with local manufacturing associations play a major role in connecting business and education within the manufacturing community. The Fraser Public Schools collaboration is a result of the SME Education Foundation’s partnership with the Michigan Manufacturers Association, which began in 2016 to help boost Michigan’s already strong manufacturing presence and provide much-needed support to an industry seeking a large influx of prepared, qualified young people.

 

About the SME Education Foundation
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists. Since its creation by SME in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors. Each year, the Foundation awards several hundred scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and technology disciplines closely related to manufacturing. The organization also administers scholarship awards on behalf of major corporations connected to manufacturing. Additionally, the Foundation’s PRIME initiative was created to provide high school students with a tailored advanced manufacturing/STEM education.

About the Michigan Manufacturers Association
For 115 years, the MMA has been serving Michigan manufacturers and related industries by providing effective representation at Michigan’s Capitol, timely educational seminars; quality and competitive-rate insurance programs, informational e-newsletters and a monthly magazine.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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MCC to host information sessions about free advanced manufacturing training for eligible participants

MCC 1Macomb Community College will host information sessions about advanced manufacturing training programs available in several high-demand career pathways: controls technician, robot programmer, mechanical maintenance specialist and robotics technician. This is part of the PRISM (Prosperity Reaches into Southern Macomb) Project, funded by a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which focuses on workforce development, introducing students to information technology careers and engaging employers in sustainable workforce training programs.

Through this grant, the PRISM Project will provide advanced manufacturing training to a minimum of 100 adults. MCC will employ a comprehensive support services model that intensively engages with students throughout the entire process, beginning with recruitment and program selection, continuing through their course of training and extending through career coaching and job placement.

MCC President James O. Sawyer IV said that the PRISM Project is about “positioning residents for long-term success, helping them develop both foundational and technical skills to pursue sustainable career pathways versus short-term jobs. And, more broadly, it’s about enhancing community vitality, building a strong pipeline to address the skills gap, growing local business and industry, and fostering a stronger regional economy.”

In addition to workforce development efforts, the project will introduce 100 high school students to IT careers through PRISM IT academies this summer and will also work to identify opportunities for employers to be involved in sustaining workforce training programs.

“This new project is about providing a clear and more affordable pathway to industry certifications or associate degrees that are relevant to our region’s economy,” said David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. “The more local employers we can engage in helping to drive, shape and grow this project, the greater the impact it will have in connecting jobseekers with the opportunities available in these growing industries.”

MCCMCC’s advanced manufacturing training programs will be conducted January through July 2018 and will range from 13 to 19 weeks long. They will be available with either a Monday through Friday daytime schedule or an evening schedule that also includes a full-day commitment on Saturdays. The programs include both foundational skills and manufacturing training components.

Information sessions about these training programs will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the college’s M-TEC facility, 7900 Tank Ave., Warren, 48092. For those living south of 16 Mile Road in Macomb County who meet other eligibility factors, all or a significant portion of tuition may be covered by the college’s PRISM Project. Additional tuition assistance may be available to financially support other individuals interested in training who do not meet PRISM requirements. To register or for more information, call (586) 498-4100 or email workforcedev@macomb.edu.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in business outreach and communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Manufacturing Day is gearing up in Macomb County!

DSC_1586Two weeks from today, 57 of Macomb County’s leading manufacturers will host tours for nearly 2,000 students from all 28 public high schools. These tours are designed to provide students with a chance to see advanced manufacturing in action and introduce them to a variety of interesting careers.

Last week, more than 150 people gathered to prepare for the big day.  See photos from the MFG Day Orientation Breakfast, sponsored by the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) here on our Facebook page.

A highlight of the event was a new video, produced by the MISD, featuring past participants who discovered manufacturing as a career possibility:  https://youtu.be/uwgHi67eLYc

Newly revised, the website www.ManufactureMyFuture.com provides a wealth of information about events throughout the region; including information for Macomb County students (and parents); current information about hot jobs in the industry; and it also lists out all of our host sites this year.

As a follow-up to national MFG Day, the department is partnering with Macomb Community College to offer the Careers in Manufacturing & Technology Expo. The event features hands-on opportunities to interact with tools and simulators used in the industry; opportunities to hear from recent students who are now gainfully employed in the industry; learn about educational pathways that lead to career success; and meet with area companies to learn about their hiring priorities. The event also features special guests, free concessions and door prizes.

The Careers in Manufacturing & Technology Expo will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Weds. Dec. 6 at Macomb’s Sports & Expo Center.

Macomb County was one of the first in the nation to organize a countywide celebration of Manufacturing Day. Since 2014, more than 5,500 high school students from throughout Macomb County have had a chance to see manufacturing in action and meet people who make things. It has taken the dedication of many, including an active planning committee and a generous group of sponsors including Dominion Technologies Group, PTI Engineered Plastics, Fori Automation, Futuramic Tool & Engineering, L&L Products and Siemens.

Your chance to shape Macomb’s future workforce

MFG Day 2016 BManufacturing Day (MFG Day) in Macomb County is one of the largest events in the country introducing high school kids to local manufacturing companies. In many cases, this is their first time seeing a manufacturing facility, which will likely be much different than what their parents have been advising them. There is a huge disconnect between many parents’ perceptions and the jobs that will be available in a highly skilled manufacturing workforce.

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development has been in manufacturing facilities throughout the county, and we have seen that the majority of the workforce is mature and will be retiring soon. We have heard that there are very few young people showing any interest in this line of work. This must be changed, and it starts with MFG Day.

MFG Day 2016 AThis event allows kids to tour your manufacturing facility, and you will get to talk directly to them to explain the importance of manufacturing jobs in Michigan. You can show these students what you do for a living, the atmosphere you work in, the pay levels and opportunities for advancement. This creates a chance for your company to market directly to the local future workforce.

We know you are busy, but we also know you are concerned about the workforce problem that everyone will face in the future. The work has already been done to get the schools involved and transportation provided. The last step, and most important, is for you to get involved in MFG Day – to put a picture of what manufacturing is today in these students’ minds before they make decisions after high school.

Please join us on MFG Day Friday, Oct. 6. To invest in your company’s future, please be a host. Learn how by going to www.MacombBusiness.com/mfgday or contact Maria Zardis at maria.zardis@macombgov.org or by phone at (586) 469-5285.

Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a project coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293.

 

Department seeks Manufacturing Day hosts and sponsors

MFG Day 2016 AOne of the goals of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is to strengthen the county’s workforce by exposing the next generation to a wide range of in-demand career opportunities. Our efforts continue to grow and are demonstrated through a variety of different programs, one of which is Manufacturing Day.

National Manufacturing Day is an initiative that gives manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to show the public how advanced the industry has become. Our department first participated in 2013 when Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel led the media on a tour of local plants that culminated with a roundtable discussion with area manufacturers.

It was at this event that we learned that one of the greatest concerns of manufacturers is the need for talent. We also learned that there was a concern about the number of young people who were exposed to the industry and the interesting and well-paying careers that it offers.

MFG Day 2016 BHearing this, department staff collaborated with the Macomb Intermediate School District to get students from every high school on buses and into local plants to see the industry in action. Since 2014, more than 5,500 students have participated.

Plans are underway for the next Manufacturing Day which will be held Friday, Oct. 6. The department seeks area manufacturers who are willing to host tours for students and sponsors to help cover event expenses. To learn more, visit www.MacombBusiness.com/mfgday.

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089Maria Zardis is the program manager of the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Macomb food entrepreneur lays groundwork for growth

Daves-Sweet-ToothMarch is Food and Ag Month in Michigan. Agriculture, food processors and related businesses employ 22 percent of the state’s workforce, and the state has 2,166 licensed food processors generating nearly $25 billion in economic activity. Macomb County is no exception to this growing trend. With 502 farms spanning 67,960 acres and 1,409 food manufacturing jobs, Macomb County boasts a healthy food and agricultural industry. Here is a close-up look at the path one Harrison Township food processor is taking to build a successful food business in Macomb County.

You may have heard about Dave’s Sweet Tooth when CEO Andrew Chmielewski made the Crain’s Detroit Business “20 in their 20s” list or landed on the Forbes “30 under 30” food and drink list, or you may have even seen the company featured on Good Morning America last year. Their toffee is carried in stores across the state and country, including Kroger, Marshalls, Whole Foods Market and Nino Salvaggio, as well as sold online. They will even be featured once again on Good Morning America as the Deal of the Day tomorrow, March 30. In business for only five years, this company is expanding at an incredible rate.

Dave’s Sweet Tooth manufactures delicious handmade toffee made from Chmielewski’s father’s homemade recipe. While touring the 5,000-square-foot facility, I was able to watch workers take the cooled toffee from baking sheets and break it into pieces by hand. In another room, employees were stuffing the toffee pieces into packages. Seems simple enough. Yet, a lot of hard work went into establishing the business, and more lies ahead to ensure the company’s growth is sustainable. And that’s where the experts come in.

daves-sweet-tooth-toffee-pouch-collection_1024x1024Chmielewski is tapping into all of the resources and services available to entrepreneurs. He is currently enrolled in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s economic gardening program. The Michigan Manufacturing Technical Center is also helping the company prepare for their Safe Quality Food (SQF) inspection as well as prepare the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plan.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering the company support through providing information about export programs which could help the company tap into markets in Canada, China or anywhere in the world. MDARD offers trade missions and participates in international trade shows where companies can become familiar with foreign markets and even meet one-on-one with buyers to discuss their products. The state also offers the Branding Program which reimburses companies up to 50 percent for translation services, airfare, hotel costs and vendor table space for international trips and toward expenses such as creating bilingual labels and websites geared toward a foreign market.

Jack Johns, program coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, also met with Chmielewski to discuss any needs the growing company has. Johns informed him that when Dave’s Sweet Tooth finds itself at capacity in its current space, Macomb County can help the company locate a new facility and take advantage of all the cost-saving incentives available to food processing businesses, which may include a tax abatement.

If you are a food or agricultural business in Macomb County, reach out to Johns at jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293 to see what kinds of programs, incentives and partners are out there to help your business succeed.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

SME Education Foundation’s PRIME program fills skills gap

SME 1-cI had a chance to visit Wadsworth High School in Ohio to learn about SME (formally known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Education Foundation’s PRIME program which focuses on building centers of excellence in manufacturing education. PRIME stands for Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education, and that is exactly what SME is trying to do around the country – to bring back advanced manufacturing education during a time when there is a big shortage of in-demand skilled  talent in those positions, such as mechatronics, programming, welding, CNC machining, metrology and more.

There will be large amounts of retirees in the next decade with very few new employees getting into those trades. Businesses are worried about their futures, and schools are catching on that they are the first step to showing students what these jobs entail.

Through the PRIME program, SME Education Foundation handles communication between both the local industrial employers needing staff for positions they can’t fill and the schools that are training the students in those types of jobs. It is beneficial for both the schools and businesses for SME Education Foundation to take the lead on running the program because of the experience they have. They are also able to get the equipment at better prices while local employers fund the program as well as help   supply the equipment to the schools. Busy in the classroom, teachers would be unable to get the machines purchased and work on the needs of the employers to set up this program themselves.

SME 2-cWhen visiting Wadsworth High School, we were able to see the rooms set up for training. They had the newest equipment, and students were very excited to show us what they were working on and their understanding of the machines. There was a local employer there as well, boasting about how well the program works, specifically targeting employers’ needs for jobs that cannot be filled right now. Employers also like the fact that the students are well-rounded with additional skills before they get out of the program.

The students advised that they like the classes because they give them a chance to use their hands and learn with real equipment and parts instead of just books. The teachers say that this gives kids a different type of learning experience. Students are assigned projects where they have to think on their feet to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it.

PRIME gives students an understanding of whether or not they like this type of work. This has given many young adults who are not college-bound an opportunity for good jobs after high school. It also gives those who are going to college a better feel for what route they want to take. Some even decide to take different paths in college, such as engineering, that they would not have without their experience in the PRIME training. Additionally, employers are now able to have a long-term plan to fill their future job openings and have better communication with the local schools.

There is a serious effort to establish this program in Macomb County. If you are interested in more information, contact Stan Simik at ssimek@sme.org or Josh Cramer at jcramer@sme.org.

Josh Cramer, senior educational programs officer for SME, will make a presentation about PRIME for the Manufacturing Day Planning Committee. Readers who are interested in learning more about how to get involved are welcome to join from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday, March 21 at the Macomb Intermediate School District, Superior Room, 44001 Garfield Road, Clinton Township. Please send a quick email to maria.zardis@macombgov.org if you plan to attend.

Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a project coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293.