Workforce Connection, area schools partner to support manufacturers’ skill needs

Posted on: December 12, 2013

OCALA, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2013) – A new training partnership between Workforce Connection and postsecondary institutions will address one of the critical skill gaps facing area manufacturers: lack of operators for industries’ state-of-the-art computerized automated machines.

Endorsed Wednesday by Workforce Connection’s board of directors, the program will augment training partners’ curriculum by providing virtual training in Computer Numeric Coding or CNC. The partnership includes the Marion Regional Manufacturer’s Association (MRMA), the College of Central Florida (CF), Withlacoochee Technical Institute (WTI), Marion Technical Institute (MTI) and Community Adult and Technical Education (CTAE). 

Rob Adamiak, MRMA’s executive director, has been working with Workforce Connection, area training providers and the manufacturing industry to address the lack of CNC-skilled workers. Machining Training Solutions of Longwood developed the customizable curriculum and Workforce Connection has purchased 25 licenses that will be used by the training partners.

Adamiak also worked with the regional workforce board to install four licenses on one of Workforce Connection’s mobile one-stops. By using the mobile unit, Adamiak said, Workforce Connection and CF will be able to deliver training directly to existing employees at area worksites.

WTI Director Denise Willis said that the Inverness-based school plans to begin offering the training in its manufacturing program this spring. CF, MTI and CTAE plan to offer the program beginning with the fall term.

“Before now, providing training has been a problem for our schools because of cost,” said Adamiak, noting that traditional training requires CNC machinery which can cost up to $500,000. The high cost of machinery restricts availability and fewer machines means less time for students’ hands-on training.

Adamiak said that Machining Training Solutions’ training solves that problem by using computer simulators which enable students to set up and run programs as often as necessary. He said it also allows testing to be conducted without fear of “crashing” a CNC machine and destroying the material being produced.

Dr. Mark Paugh, CF’s vice president of instruction, pointed out that not only does the training program eliminate the need for  expensive machinery, but because there is less waste it reduces the cost of raw materials. He also said that students can also access the curriculum 24/7 from their home computers allowing them to progress through the training “outside the classroom” – something that is especially helpful for incumbent workers.

For more information about the program call 352-873-7939.

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