quinebaug valley community college

From the Director

Now is the time to get involved in advanced manufacturing

Steve LaPointeHere is an update on the status of the QVCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and the progress students are making with their new careers. Some of you may have had the opportunity to take a tour of our magnificent facility. The machines that we purchased align nicely with what our business and industry partners are using in their shops. Our shop is set up with the latest trends in lean manufacturing and has shown an improvement in overall organization of operating a machine shop with over 60 students a day passing through. The workstations are fitted with all the tools needed for students to perform their duties. Our latest addition is that the drawers in our rollaways are fitted with shadow boards clearly defining where the tools belong. This along with a time clock to punch in and out of class are examples of real world applications they will see in the workplace.

In  Fall 2016, we gave our students chances to earn NIMS credentials (National Institute of Metalworking Skills) in Measurement, Materials and Safety and Job Planning, Benchwork and Layout. Our results were an impressive 54 out of 56 grueling tests passed. NIMS is a way of validating the content we teach.   Earning stackable credentials looks good on our students’ resumes.

In January of 2017, QVCC added a daytime cohort for the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program. Twenty-five students enrolled, and after testing both cohorts for more NIMS credentials on April 5th, NIMS awarded 72 more. 22 students from our nighttime cohort completed their certificate May 11th, and only a few of our students need to be placed in employment in our local shops. Most of them have been participating in paid internships as early as November earning $14 an hour part time during the day.

One of the secrets for success has been the amount of time we spend on the shop floor putting the students through hands on experiences with various shop projects. All the theory and explaining in the classroom cannot substitute that same experience of fabricating the real part. The Haas Company visited our center and realized the value in what we were trying to accomplish. They were so impressed that the Gene Haas Foundation awarded QVCC $25,000 to help students with obtaining the skills needed for careers in manufacturing. Haas sees the resurgence of manufacturing in America through sales of machines and understands its importance.

We have also started a Mechatronics Automation Technician Certificate program that will be very similar to the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate. It is a 30-credit, two-semester certificate that also allows the transfer of all 30 credits into an Associate Degree in Technology Studies. You can check out our website for more information.

I will close with the exciting times we experience and how “the quiet corner” is fortunate to have this opportunity. QVCC’s goal is to better our community through workforce development, leading to great careers in advanced manufacturing. I can tell that everything is pointing to a boom in manufacturing. The entire team that surrounds me is waiting to help each student achieve success and start the path to a better way of living. Please give us the chance to help you chase your dreams by enrolling in our programs today. There are limited spaces available so don’t procrastinate.

Stephen LaPointe
QVCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center