Students in the region who are interested in manufacturing jobs have plenty of educational opportunities available to them.
Six District Educational Compact
The Six District Educational Compact is a consortium of the Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Kent, Stow-Munroe, Tallmadge and Woodridge school districts pooling their resources to offer Career-Tech education at their high school buildings. Students who attend any of these high schools can participate in any of the Six District’s programs. The compact offers more than 20 College Tech Prep and career programs, including auto specialization, collision repair and automotive refinishing, and construction technologies.
The primary manufacturing offering is the Computer-Aided Design and Engineering Technologies (CADET) program at Kent Roosevelt High School to juniors and seniors who attend the aforementioned high schools.
Troy Spear works with students in the Level I program, typically offered to 11th-graders, and Jeff Bee teaches students in the Level II program, mainly offered to 12th-graders.
When GateHouse Media visited a recent Level I session, a group of students were working on computers to duplicate drawings for a machine they were going to make in the lab area, according to Spear.
After the drawing is created, the students are machining the parts and assembling them into a stationary machine.
"We tell students, if you can dream it, we're going to show you how to draw it, design it, prototype it … machine it, put it together and make it work," Spear said.
The goal of the program is to give students "entry-level skills" such as setting up and operating a machine, he added.
Spear showed visitors a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) milling tool and showed how G Code is used to simulate the work of the tool. Spear also discussed the work of a 3-D printer. Aidan Lowe, a junior at Cuyahoga Falls High School, and Curea Boggs, a junior at Kent Roosevelt, did welding work on a project to create a television stand.
Spear said for every job replaced by automation, three new jobs are created, but those positions require a higher level of skill. Brian Bachtel, director of career technical education at Kent Roosevelt, said it means a student must know how to weld, program a robot to perform a welding job, and diagnose and fix the machine when a problem arises.
Cuyahoga Valley Career Center
The Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville offers more than 20 programs, including ones in machine technology, auto body repair & refinishing, auto service technology, and construction trades.
Juniors and seniors in eight different school districts — including Nordonia Hills and Twinsburg — are able to participate in the CVCC programs.
"We have connections with business and industry that would align with their program," said David Mangas, superintendent of CVCC.
In their junior year, the students learn basic skills and familiarize themselves with the industry. They then have a chance to participate in an internship in the summer. He noted students who are in the second semester of their senior year are allowed to do on-the-job training.
In the machining program, students can earn the National Institute for Metal Workers' Skills (NIMS) certification once they pass an exam, according to Mangas.
The center offers four pillars in career technical education: students can earn college credit, a job certification, work-based learning through an internship, and compete in a skills contest.
"That's a huge benefit to our students because they can really excel at their skills," said Mangas.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.