The Warren County Career Center received a state grant to encourage students to enter manufacturing fields and eventually try to change the way career and technical education is offered.
Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday that the career center will receive $117,000 in funding from the Manufacturing PA Training to Career Program (MTTC) “to introduce high school students in the Warren County School District to manufacturing as an alternative to the traditional path to higher education.”
“Pursuing a career in manufacturing is the right choice for many students – they just need the opportunity to see what the field is all about,” said Wolf. “Pennsylvania offers many opportunities for lucrative manufacturing jobs and giving students the opportunity to learn more about this career path is essential for it to remain a key industry within the Commonwealth.”
“The Warren County Career Center and the Warren County School District are very excited about this opportunity,” said WCCC Director Jim Evers. “We believe this will benefit both our students and our community.”
“Students will be exposed to industrial career opportunities beyond the technical field alone,” Evers said. “It will open the door to fabrication for other students who might never have thought of it. We believe this has the potential to change the way vocational and technical education is delivered in our district.
According to the statement from Wolf’s office, “Warren County Career Center plans to use its $117,000 MTTC funding to attract students to manufacturing by providing an alternative path for high school students who may not realize there are options outside of attending a college or university. To accomplish this, a part-time position at the center will be filled, new equipment as well as materials and tools will be purchased, promotional and marketing materials will be created, and 20 Haas certifications will be purchased.
Evers said the program is modeled after that of Erie McDowell High School.
“This is a student-run company with Machine Technology, Pre-Engineering, and Multimedia Marketing students working together,” he said.
Career center students will step in and fill roles that local industry does not want to do.
“Local industry has specific parts or other jobs they don’t want to do, cost too much to do, or outsource to other companies,” Evers said. “They agreed to work with us and send us some of that work.”
The process will include more than reading and making designs, manufacturing parts and handing them over.
For instance, “Companies will meet with our advisor and provide a description or drawing of the part they need and the number they need”, he said. “Our students will be trained by local industry on how to use available software to price the part to manufacture.”
Students “will send the company its offer for the manufacture of the part – possibly haggle the price etc. and finally arrive at an agreed price”, Evers said. “Once an agreed price is secured, Machine Tech and Pre-Engineering students will CNC program the part.”
These projects will not use scrap or donated materials.
“Students will order the necessary materials and fabricate the parts in a timely manner,” he said.
The pricing, payment, and taxation parts of the project are new to stores. “Students will then develop an invoice for payment for the parts and ship them,” Evers said. “Students involved will be trained in the use of Quickbooks to develop invoices and pay required taxes.”
“Marketing students will market the program to local/regional businesses to increase sales,” he said.
While selling the Career Center services to companies, they will also sell the Career Center opportunities to students.
“All proceeds will go to the students in the form of scholarships and program incentives,” Evers said.
District officials hope to expand the program. “We are working with central office on the development of elective courses so that non-CTC (career and technical center) students can be involved in a one- to two-period class,” he said. “The overall goal is to educate students about manufacturing opportunities and career exploration and to expose more students to manufacturing.”
“If successful, we see this as having the potential to change the way CTC is offered to students,” Evers said.