Kim LenglingTo visit above source click here
The face of manufacturing has been steadily changing. Advances in technology and automation are increasing productivity, which in turn increases the demand for highly skilled workers.
Businesses are experiencing shortages of machinists, operators, and technicians as well as industrial engineers and manufacturing engineers.
With the average age of the manufacturing workforce between 45 - 54 years of age. There is and will be a need for young, skilled workers to enter the manufacturing field.
We recently reached out to Chris Yost, the Applied Engineering and Technology Instructor and Student NTMA Club Advisor at Cochranton Area High School to get his input as to what he sees from a rural standpoint and what students may be aspiring to once they graduate as well as his involvement with RoboBots.
I personally feel the integration of SolidWorks (CADD) design opens their eyes specifically in regards to them understanding the design stages of a parts creation and then leading them into the physical creation using the CNC programming and operation we provide at Cochranton High School. Students that do not specifically want to pursue careers in precision machining but instead in engineering fields can still get basic mill and lathe training as well as CNC programming and operation.
I feel the interest level is moderate. I still feel a high number of students are being fed the idea that careers in manufacturing are not solid jobs or pay little to nothing. With that being said, I try to get students into local companies in order for them to see how these companies work and how everyone is thriving. I have on average, 5 - 7 students from my classes going into engineering careers yearly and generally another five going into manufacturing careers right out of high school.
I have been a part of the RoboBots program since 2008, which was my second year at Cochranton. Since then we have won Best Engineering Documentation from 2012-2018, First place from 2013-2018 and multiple 2nd and third place finishes. In 2016, we took first place in the NRL (National Robotics League) Competition with our robot Juggernaut and took third place the following year with our robot Reaper. We have won multiple best engineered robot awards, king of the ring and best sportsmanship.
Specific tool shops and local manufactures such as JBM Technologies, Coinco, Inc., StarLite Group, Greiner Extrusion and Area Tool and Manufacturing have been at our side for years. They have assisted us with everything from the manufacturing of complex parts, donating mills, welding, tooling, etc. Other tool shops have assisted us in monetary donations for our robotics programs and we are extremely grateful.
The most rewarding moments are when you can see a student or a group of students conceive an idea, brainstorm the ideas behind it, design its parts and assemblies in SolidWorks and then CNC or manually mill every single part in order to make that thing come alive. This can go for basic woodworking projects or more complex designs such as the combat robots we build. But it’s not about the final project as much as it is the process behind the design and creation. The “ah-ha” moment on kids’ faces when they can chuck up a part, locate its zero, apply proper tooling offsets and comfortably watch their program run without feeling like it’s going to crash makes my day.
I have seen a multitude of students go into jobs right out of high school and end up in a manufacturing job that they love years later. I have seen a high number of students recently going into mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology careers. Military careers are always one I see a moderate number of students pursing.
Two success stories I can remember and will remember will be Tyler Huston, Nate Huey and Jared Rose. Tyler was, since the day I asked him what he wanted to do in 8th grade, said he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy. The percentage of students accepted into the academy is around 12.3%. Most of these students trying to get in are in the top AP courses in high school, participate in tons of extra-curricular activities and do vast amounts of work out of school in order to get into the Academy. Tyler’s interview score was “off the charts” as they told him. One other thing that set him apart from the other candidates; Tyler’s CSWA Certification that he achieved in my class in high school was one thing he had that no one else did. This test is generally offered in most college freshman design classes. I am offering this to my 10th grade students and have an 80% pass rate.
Nate Huey and Jared are recent graduates of CHS. Nate and Jared are good friends of mine now that he has graduated and we talk regularly. Nate is attending Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology pursuing a career in Mechanical Engineering and Jared is at Penn State Main. Nate is pursuing a career in Agricultural Engineering. SolidWorks not only offers the CSWA Certification (Associates) but also a CSWP (Professional) and CSWE (Expert). Based upon the SolidWorks directory, Jared and Nate are the only high school students listed to have passed the CSWP test. Nate and I took the test around his mid-junior year and we both missed a question but still passed. Jared aced the test with a perfect score. I will never live that one down. I was extremely proud of them both when they passed.
23727 US Hwy 322
Cochranton, PA 16314
PO Box 248
Cochranton, PA 16314
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