Renishaw (West Dundee, IL), a global manufacturer of measurement, process control and other industrial equipment, and the Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) at Greenville Technical College (GTC) in Greenville, SC, have partnered to address the manufacturing skills gap by training the next generation of engineers and machine operators. The collaboration among academe, industry and community partners combines education/training, research and economic development in a region of the country where the aerospace, power generation and automotive industries are rapidly developing.
|Students at the Center for Manufacturing Innovation at Greenville Technical College can take courses in industrial automation, robotics, CNC machining, manufacturing management, metrology/quality management, process design and more.|
Additionally, CMI’s status as an Enterprise Campus makes it possible for the program to contribute to the local economy through the production and delivery of goods and services. “We expect this program to have a big impact on this area’s manufacturing industry,” said David Clayton, Executive Director of CMI. “Estimates show a need for thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the region over the coming years, so we feel this program is an important part of the region’s economic development.”
The CMI campus includes a 100,000-square-foot facility with metrology, prototyping and pneumatics/hydraulics labs and an additive manufacturing area. Students take courses in industrial automation, robotics, CNC machining, manufacturing management, metrology/quality management, process design and Lean Six Sigma, among other disciplines, said Renishaw’s release.
There are currently 15 educators on the CMI staff and nearly 200 students enrolled at the center. Renishaw has committed a four-person staff to the program as well as many pieces of equipment. Students are learning part measurement on the Equator Gauging System, calibrating machines with the QC20-W wireless ballbar and setting up machines with an assortment of Renishaw probes and Styli. The company also placed one of its AM400 additive manufacturing systems at CMI.
“Additive is the future of manufacturing and we have one of the most advanced metal additive machines available, right here for our students to learn on,” said Scotty Nicholson, Machine Tool Instructor, CMI. “To provide access to the equipment that our students will actually use upon graduation gives our program an elite status. It is estimated that, nationwide, more than 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the next 10 years. The CMI program at Greenville Tech, presented as part of an educational partnership with Clemson University, provides a direct path to employment, and employers get the benefit of highly skilled employees.”
There are four career centers in Greenville County and 16 high schools that feed students into CMI, as well as an apprenticeship program with many major employers. Students earn a two-year degree and are typically funneled directly into manufacturing jobs, where the average salary is currently $63,936 annually for associate-degree holders in Greenville County, said Renishaw’s release.
Clemson University’s CU-ICAR program and the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum have also partnered for the past five years to present “All Girls AUTO Know.” This program aims to empower girls to seek careers in the automotive industry with a focus on automotive engineering. Area high schools send students who would most benefit from this program, and presenters include representatives from Michelin, BMW, Draexelmeir, SAGE, Clemson WISE and GTC.
“We see the importance of addressing the manufacturing skills gap, and this is a natural way for us to get involved,” said Howard Salt, President of Renishaw Inc. “We consider this a pilot program for similar partnerships across the United States. Our goal is to work with education at institutions and local businesses to train future manufacturing professionals on the latest manufacturing technologies.”