The American Injection Molding Institute (AIM; Erie, PA), a plastics educational and research organization, announced the graduation of the first class to complete its plastics technology and engineering (PTE) program. The students began the integrated multi-course program at the beginning of 2015 and concluded their exams in December.
According to AIM founder John Beaumont, "the mission of the institute is to help advance the injection molding industry by delivering high-quality science, engineering and technology-based educational programs developed specifically for practicing professionals. The multi-course PTE certificate program is a first of a kind. The program is designed to provide high level foundational knowledge to help graduates use critical thinking to solve problems and to be more innovative in the development of plastic products."
A recent inductee into the Plastics Hall of Fame and former professor and program chair of the plastics engineering technology program at Penn State, Beaumont used both his academic and industry background to develop the AIM Institute.
"This first class included a great mix of professionals with varied educational backgrounds and job functions. All of them were significantly challenged and were required to put in many hours of hard work, not only in each of the four week-long classes at the AIM Institute facility, but also time in the weekly online meetings, homework assignments and exams," said Beaumont. "It was gratifying to see the enthusiasm and work ethic of the students. The PTE certificate was well-earned and the graduates should be proud of themselves."
Beaumont told PlasticsToday that all the students of this first graduating class were working in the industry at the time they signed up; however, two of them were new to plastics, with about one year in the industry under their belts. The students had varied job functions that included program manager, process engineer, mold designer, engineering manager and process technician trainer.
While the AIM Institute doesn't offer job placement assistance, AIM does have a LinkedIn group, allowing alumni of the PTE program to network with one another and keep in touch.
New graduate Rene Menjivar, Program Manager at Viking Plastics, enjoyed the learning experience. "The instructors are some of the most respected men in the plastics industry. We were able to learn materials from Mike Sepe, processing from John Bozzelli, and were taught by Dave Hoffman and Mr. Beaumont, as well. This has been such a great learning experience. The quality of the instructors gives the AIM Institute even more validity."
Billy Allen, Process Technologist at Thogus, was impressed with how comprehensive the PTE program was. "It doesn't matter what line of work you come from—if plastics is your industry, this program will work for you. The PTE certificate has helped me in many ways, most importantly [in getting] a job promotion."
The second and third enrollments are already underway, and AIM's fourth class is set to begin Feb. 29. Class size averages about 10 students per enrollment. Classes are kept small to foster teacher/student interaction.
For more information about the AIM Institute, visit the website at www.aim.institute.