Officials Discuss Advanced Manufacturing Education Program
The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing is under construction at Clinton Community College. The 30,000-square foot facility is scheduled to open in August. Institute representatives updated local leaders on construction progress and their efforts to promote AIME – a curriculum to enhance advanced manufacturing career education.
Representatives from the Institute and partner organizations met with manufacturers in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning to outline a program called AIME or Assembling Industry: Manufacturing & Education. The program was started around 2004 to teach entry level skills for manufacturing jobs. With the new advanced manufacturing institute gearing up to accept new students Clinton Community College, Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Kristopher Renadette says AIME is being updated to better meet modern manufacturers’ needs.
“The AIME program and the goal of the AIME program is really entry level. It's about learning what the manufacturing is, preparing them for what opportunity it is, because again they're not familiar with manufacturing. You go into high schools and you ask students what manufacturing is and a lot of individuals do not know or understand what opportunities that you guys have here and what's available.”
Schluter Systems manufactures ceramic and stone tile installation systems. Vice President of Production Brad Van Brunt quizzed presenters on whether there has been any effort to raise awareness about the program. “What are we doing to get people more interested in getting into this because we're hiring a lot of people and that's a struggle because we're just churning them around and it seems like you know I'd love to get people that have at least gone through this. And I was wondering what efforts are being done from a marketing perspective to try and really build up what, like you say, a pipeline of people that go through this?”
Kristopher Renadette: “I think that goes to a bigger problem and that's really the awareness and perception of what manufacturing is.”
Schluter has been expanding and Van Brunt says it has been difficult to find qualified employees. He hopes the AIME program helps students understand what is expected of them as employees. “A lot of the people we hire at an entry level, unless they've come from another company and have had some experience, they don't really know what to expect in the job. So when I see something like a six week program like this that the tuition, it can basically be covered by grants and things like this, to me it's a no brainer for anybody who would like to get into more of a career that has benefits. I'm glad to see it and I hope we can market this thing even greater and have a much larger pipeline because it'll be a lot easier for us. We're having difficulty getting people in. And I need people.”
ETS is a workforce development and placement company that works with about 135 employers in the area. President and CEO Deb Cleary says manufacturing provides the foundation for jobs across the region. “A lot of people do see the value in working in manufacturing. They get it. Those are the really good jobs in this community and they allow a worker to follow some of these pathways into other careers. There's different pathways at these companies. Those really are the foundational very good jobs in our community.”
The AIME program provides work readiness credentials including a 10-hour General Industry Outreach Training Program and Manufacturing Skill Standards Council credentials.