Cuyahoga Community College’s Manufacturing Center of Excellence works to fill the skills gap

Tri-C manufacturing center of excellence

In June, I met with Alicia Booker, vice president of manufacturing, and Alethea Ganaway, program manager additive manufacturing & Ideation Station, of Cuyahoga Community College’s Workforce, Community and Economic Development division at the Metro Campus. Booker says, “We take a manufacturing systems approach and not a product approach. We don’t just focus occupationally on the need to fill a gap then three months later the need arises again due to churn.”

For this team, it’s all about workforce development and creating a skilled workforce. More than 3,500 students are attending the workforce programs, including youth, adults interested in a career transitions, students who already have a degree but are returning to upgrade skills, older adults interested in a second career, employees who need additional training for their current role, and job seekers interested in starting a career.

Booker moved to Ohio two years ago from Pennsylvania to accept the position. Ganaway was moved from Tri-C’s robotics program to additive manufacturing in order to write the grant to fund the program. Now, two years later, the fruits of their labor are paying off in the Manufacturing Center of Excellence (MCoE).

Booker says, “We offer a unique brand of training – short-term through two-year degree plus transfer opportunities. Classes are offered in environments that meet the needs of the students and customers — day, evening, weekend, and bootcamp formats, full- and part-time training, and now we can offer onsite training through the Citizens Bank Mobile Training Unit. Our programs are comprehensive, offering exploration and career exposure to students as young as eight years old through our Nuts & Bolts Academy, middle and high school visits (via the mobile unit), and our college credit plus K-12 initiative.”

This is what the impressively outfitted MCoE contains:Tri-C manufacturing center of excellence scanner

  1. A shop that houses CNC equipment
  2. An integrated systems line with Fanuc robots that launched in June 2017 (Students can become a certified production technician in eight weeks, including program automation, PLCs, and visual inspection for quality control.)
  3. A 3D printing lab that houses a Faro scanner and two printers that can print biomedical-grade devices
  4. A PLC training line with both Allen-Bradley and Siemens systems that launched In August 2017 (Students can earn an international certification for Siemens Mechatronics Systems, mainly used by European companies, since there are more than 400 German companies in northeast Ohio, while Allen-Bradley is more common in The United States. Some companies, such as Ford, use both systems in different portions of the plant. The training line includes a PLC station with hydraulic and pneumatic boards and a robotic arm.)
  5. A rover for virtual-reality training and integrated gaming
  6. A Fab Lab, a maker space for community and international collaboration (it houses a classroom; a Techno CNC router; an embroidery machine; a small mill for engraving, heat presses for T-shirts, hats and mugs; a laser engraver; and a vinyl cutter.)
  7. A mobile unit that can go to businesses, events and schools for teaching and demonstration opportunities in a nine-county area that launched in February 2017 (The trailer fits 10 students and instructors; is WiFi, laptop and software equipped; has its own generator; has plugs for different amperages; and can be deployed with electrical, welding, CNC, mechanics and 3D printing equipment. The lab already has been deployed to the 2017 IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Conference & Expo, a workforce summit, Crestwood Local Schools, and Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland.)

According to Ganaway, “The Additive Manufacturing program includes not only 3D printing, but we teach students how to reverse engineer parts, 2D and 3D design, 3D scanning, inspection and other technologies related to additive manufacturing.  Additive manufacturing is not just related to manufacturing; it includes other disciplines, as well, such as medical.  Some of the projects include 3D printing prosthetics for veterans at the VA who are disabled.”

The college offers training by which students can earn college credits and industry certifications. In the welding training, they learn MIG, TIG, and stick welding. Right Skills Now affords students with CNC training in manual and automated machining. They train on Haas CNC mills and lathes, and on Bridgeport manual machines. The 3D/additive manufacturing training is in digital design, and students receive training in multiple 3D printing technologies, including the use of 3D printers, scanners, and other equipment available through the Ideation Station where they can work with a techno router, laser engraver, etc. In Mechatronics, students learn techniques in mechanical, electrical, computerization, and gain an understanding of how these systems work together. Finally, as a certified production technician, students are prepared to begin career opportunities in manufacturing and earn four industry certifications in areas of safety, manufacturing processes and production. This is a hybrid training program that includes training on the integrated systems training equipment to prepare them for occupations in material handling, assembly and production.

To stay connected to industry, the program has several advisory committees made up of industry professionals from the welding, machining, electrical, mechanical, 3D printing and transportation sectors. They also have specific employer-based programs, including First Energy, Swagelok and ArcelorMittal, who have advised the college on customized programs that lead to employment with their companies. Local businesses, such as Cleveland Job Corps, Cleveland Municipal School District, Towards Employment, Boys & Girls Club, Ohio Means Jobs, Ford, General Motors, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, NASA, Arconic, Charter Steel, and others, utilize the program’s services.

The program, says Booker, helps to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce by “working to strengthen the region by supporting the existing efforts of our partners and by addressing the needs we hear from employers for a skilled workforce. We provide a quick response for new skills by developing new programs and training modalities. We also are working with schools and youth-serving organizations to enhance the talent pipeline that industry needs.” She continues by sharing that the most common challenge that she sees manufacturing facing is “the alignment of skills — commonly referred to as the skills gap. The impact of technology on the industry is also a challenge as industry works to keep up with the growth of technology, and we (as a training institution) work to keep up with the projected needs for skilled workers.”

Tri-C manufacturing center of excellence mechatronics

Cleveland Job Corps needs help starting a manufacturing technologies training program that will feed area manufacturers with a skilled workforce

HGR lathe

The WorkRoom Program Alliance, part of the Dan T. Moore Company, is partnering with Cleveland Job Corps, Coit Road, Cleveland, Ohio, to create a manufacturing center at the Job Corps facility in order to offer manufacturing technologies training. This is about workforce development and creating a skilled workforce, folks! Something that every manufacturer I know worries about: filling those vacancies with skilled labor.

Here is their needs list so that they can align with federal standards. As you can see from the list of equipment, this is a seriously valuable program for local manufacturing.

Can you or anyone you know help? HGR is checking its showroom to see what we have that would be suitable, but I’m sure other organizations in the area might be able to make an equipment or financial donation to get this program off the ground. Contact Gina at HGR if you can help:

1Drill Press
1Drill, Electric, Portable DWT
2Gauge, Height RUT
1Grinder, Bench, Electric
4Grinder, Die, Pneumatic
3Grinder, Die, Pneumatic
1Grinder, Metal, Floor, Electric BAL
1Grinder, Metal, Floor, Electric FALCON
1Grinder, Metal, Universal SHOP FOX
1Grinder, Portable, Electric DELTA
3Grinder, Portable, Electric DUM
1Grinder, Surface CHEV
1Lathe, Computer Programmable
1Lathe, Metal, Engine, Permanent
2Lathe, Metal, Engine, Sliding Gap KIN
1Lathe, Metal, Engine, Solid Bed ACR
1Lathe, Metal, Engline, Permanent ACE
2Lathe, Metal, Engline, Permanent JET
1Machine, Bending CHI
1Machine, Forming PEX
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable EMC
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable INT
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable TEC
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable TEC
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACE (1)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACE (2)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACR (1)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACR (2)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical DAY
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical FALCON
3Plate, Surface, Stone
1Router PTR CBL
2Sander, Portable, Orbital SKIL
1Saw, Circular, Portable, Electric DWT
1Saw, Metal Cutting, Band WIL
1Saw, Metal Cutting, Circular MIL
1Saw, Reciprocating PTR
1Sharpener, Drill Bits OTMT
1Vacuum, Wet/Dry
1Combination TV/VCR/DVD
1SMART Board technology
13D Printer
15Scientific calculators, such as TI-30xa
12Student Desks
12Student Chairs
2Student Computer Work Station
1Instructor Desk
1Instructor Chair
QuantityHand Tools
 QA and Measuring Tools
10Set of 1″ Mics, 6″ dial calipers and 6″ scale
16″ digital calipers
10Metric scales
1Gage blocks, 81 pc. Set, grade B
2Surface plate, 18 x 24, lowest grade
1Surface plate, 24 x 36″ with stand
2Height gages, vernier
2Height gages, 12″ dial
3Angle plate
1Plug gage set from .011 to .500″
5Holder for plug gages, to make go/no-go gages
2Machinist square
6Combination square
10Tape measures
5Drop indicators with magnetic stand and 22 pc set of points
3Vee blocks, set of 2
3Test indicator set
3Radius gages, set covers 1/32 to 1/2
1Set of 5 micrometers covering range of 1″ to 6″
2Thread gages for 1/4-20 UNC-2B, for NIMS benchwork project
1Optical Comparator, 14″, new, with Fagor Digital Readout and cabinet, Suburban Tool
1Stage center for Optical comparator, MV14-CTR
1Estimated equipment shipping costs
 Metalworking Tools
5Hammer, ballpeen, 8 oz
1Parallels for milling vise set
1Milling vise, TTC, swivel base, 6″ wide jaws, opens 5-1/2″, wt. 100#
1Vise, angle, for drill press
10Allen wrenches, set
5Oil cans, small
12Files, mill
12Files, rattail
12Files: bastard
20File handles
1Tap and die sets, including wrenches
2Hammer, ballpen, 16 oz
5Power hand grinders, (Makita)
1Drills, complete 1 to 60, A to Z, 1/64 to 1/2″, set
5Reamers, for specific projects
5Dead blow hammer
3Bench vises
8C-clamps, assorted sizes, 2 of each
10Eye loupes
1Tapping head for drill press w/ collets
5Prick punch
1Soft jaws for vise
1Drill chuck for milling machine, for NIMS
2Magnetic base for indicator
1Millermatic 210 MIG welder
1Miller Synchrowave 180, TIG welder
1MSC 3-in-1 metalforming machine
QuantityPersonal Protective Equipment
1SDS “Right to Know Station” and HMIS labels
1Red can for rags
2Fire extinguishers, recharble for student practice
1Eye wash station
1First aid kit
1Lock out/tag out kit with forms and 10 booklets
1Spill clean up kit and additional “snakes” and oil-dry
1Hand washing facilities
QuantityConsumable items
1First aid supplies
1Red and green labels, for good and bad parts
3Layout dyes
1Dye remover
20Hacksaw blades
3Replacement files: bastard, mill, rattail
5Handles for files
1Replacement files: bastard, mill, rattail
5Deburring tools, countersinks
1Metal for projects, should be donated but if have to purchase
26″ buffing/polishing wheels, for pedestal grinder
50Discs for hand power grinder/sander, abrasive
20Discs for hand power grinder/sander, polishing
10Cutoff wheels for hand power grinder
1Sandpaper, sheets: series of rough to fine
20Scotch-brite pads, medium and fine
1Oil, lubricating
3Cutting fluid (tap magic)
1Surface plate cleaner
2Stones for surface plate
1Sharpening or replacing reamers
3Recharging fire extinguishers
1Curriculum, workbooks, and certification testing
QuantityOther Items
1Annual Contracted Machine Maintenance, Service & Repair

HGR drill press

Ever have a filling? A local manufacturing company shapes the drills’ cutting edges.

Dentist with drill

William Sopko and Sons Co., located at 26500 Lakeland Blvd., Euclid, Ohio, was started in 1952 in the basement of current owner Bill Sopko Sr.’s parents’ home on East 267th Street. His dad, also Bill, worked in the Maintenance Department at Tapco (now TRW) after returning home from serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Prior to the war, he worked at Ohio Ball Bearing Company (now Applied Technologies) in the Spindle Repair Department.

Bill Sr., says, “Many people do not know what a spindle is. It is NOT the wood spindle on a staircase. In industry, the spindle assembly has a shaft that is mounted on bearings and turns at high speeds. The special bearings must support both radial and axial pressures. On the end of the shaft an adaptor holds either a grinding wheel or a cutting tool. The higher the speed, the more precise the spindle must be.”

Since his father had two young children at the time, one of them being Bill, Sr., Bill Sopko decided to go out on his own and start a business, William Sopko and Sons Co. His wife, Mary, did the paperwork. They picked Euclid as home because it was the perfect place to have a family and establish a business. In the early 1950s, Euclid was booming with industry.  Then they had two more kids to make a family of six.

Mary died in 1967 and Bill in 1974. The business still was located in the basement on East 267th Street. In 1971, Bill Sr. graduated from college, got married and rented a small block building on St. Clair Avenue. He purchased a milling machine, saw and surface grinder. Prior to this he had outsourced all of his manufacturing to local shops, many still in business today. In 1976, the company moved out of the basement into a building on Lakeland Boulevard in Wickliffe. In the early 1990s it needed more space and moved back to Euclid into the company’s current location on Lakeland Boulevard.

The current business has three segments, all related to precision grinding and machining. First, it is a precision spindle repair service company that rebuilds all types of ball and roller-bearing spindles. Most popular are surface grinders, cutter grinders, internal grinders, Moore Jig grinders, both foreign and domestic. The company has rebuilt more than 10,000 precision spindles during the past 64 years. Second, it manufactures grinding accessories that include wheel adapters, internal grinding quills, collet chuck quills, extensions, flanges, spacers and precision wheel screws. Finally, the company is a stocking distributor for spindle-related products. Its major lines include Dumore hand grinders, tool post grinders, parts, spindles and drill units, and Gates power transmission products including flat spindle belts, poly vee, variable speed and vee belts.

Sopko and Sons employs experienced machine technicians who can run manual lathes, CNC turning and milling machines and a complete precision grinding department to grind its products and spindle repair components, as required. Sopko does not do contact grinding for other companies. Grinding shops are its customers, and it does not compete against them. According to Bill Sr., “Some common applications of our precision spindles include forming and sharpening the cutting edges on the tiny drills the dentist uses to drill your teeth for a filling. Some spindles are used to grind hardened ball bearings, automotive engine blocks and jet aircraft components.”

Currently, the third generation is involved with the company. Bill Jr., Brian and Jillian Sopko all are on board to continue to serve valued customers all over the country.  With regard to the future, Bill Sr. says, “The future will have many technical advancements affecting the whole world. People in manufacturing will make products of tomorrow using precision machine tools. Our business will adjust to this new technology as it is discovered, and we will continue to service and supply the needs of the new century.”

William Sopko and Sons logo