The Power is On at the New Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, Preparing Community for High-Paying, High-Tech JobsShare
Officially, the POWER IS ON at Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center — literally — as in lieu of the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. Valencia President Sandy Shugart, along with Valencia’s District Board of Trustees Chair Lew Oliver, a manufacturing program student and a graduate, pressed the large “Power On” button that instantly set the manufacturing tools into motion at the Center’s open house, on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.
The packed house included Valencia’s District Board of Trustees; Osceola County officials; representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Mike La Rosa and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater; manufacturing business representatives; workforce development professionals; and Valencia employees as they learned about this new partnership with the community that will provide hands-on training and nationally-recognized industry certifications to quickly prepare workers for skilled positions within manufacturing.
“The journey to today’s event reflects how the needs in our Central Florida community have evolved and how one industry — manufacturing — has come to the forefront, asking for help in finding skilled workers,” Dr. Shugart said as he came to the podium.
“Valencia successfully provides both A.S. and bachelor’s degrees in engineering and engineering technology for our community and continues to do so,” he shared. “However, over the last few years, employers began asking for an additional set of skills and training. What they wanted was some form of short-term intensive training, conducted over an eight-to-16-week period leading to nationally recognized industry certifications. And people earning these certifications also needed substantial hands-on training to provide the experience required for employment.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, a 17,000-square-foot facility, is owned by Osceola County and leased by Valencia College. A source of the funding for the Center comes from a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program.
The Center is designed to provide students with a real-world hands-on manufacturing experience. The center features classrooms with the latest in software simulation as well as practical training labs with industry-standard equipment to immerse students in their chosen specialization. With curriculum developed in collaboration with Central Florida manufacturers, the Center delivers state-of-the-art training for in-demand manufacturing careers.
Following Dr. Shugart, comments were made by Osceola County Commissioner Brandon Arrington; Valencia Vice President, Global, Professional and Continuing Education Joe Battista; Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida Sherry Reeves; Vice President of Lockheed Martin Pat Sunderlin; Senior Vice President of Power System Sales at Siemens Barry Nicholls; Valencia’s District Board of Trustees Chair Lew Oliver; Valencia manufacturing student Ken Franklin; and Valencia manufacturing graduate Dion Rainy, who credited Valencia’s program for helping him demonstrate the technical skills needed to land a job at Custom Metal Designs in Orlando.
After the welcome, attendees could tour the two smart-technology classrooms; the machining lab for training in the manual and computer numerical control integrated machining processes; the assembly lab that focuses on soldering, wire harnessing, cabling and assembly of parts; the quality lab that covers inspecting the quality of the parts; the welding lab that houses 10 welding booths, as well as a welding simulator; the conference room, student study lab, workstations and administrative areas; and the tool crib for parts storage and inventory control.
Current programs offered at the Center include: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) – Machining; Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) – Certified Production Technician; Products and Parts Assembly; and Quality Inspection. At this time six additional programs are in development. Each of the existing and future programs provide a pathway for the student to an industry-recognized national or international certification in their field of study.
“We are proud that Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center will help support our community by training people for high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs,” shared Dr. Shugart.
For open house photos, click here.