Local community college assists manufacturers with setting up state-approved apprenticeship training programs

 

Chrissy Cooney of LCCC(Q&A with Christin (aka Chrissy) Cooney, program coordinator, Lorain County Community College)

When did the apprenticeship programs begin at LCCC?

LCCC did customized apprenticeships for individual companies, including Ford, for 30 years, and still does. But, the new state-approved apprenticeship training program counts toward a degree and is registered with and approved by the state, not just internal to the company. The Medina County pilot, in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College, began in January 2017 with the first group of students starting their apprenticeship training in August 2017. Next term, they will be on machines at Medina County Career Center with LCCC and Tri-C faculty teaching. Each semester, the apprentices take one course through Tri-C and one course through LCCC, but the LCCC faculty members travel to Tri-C to teach the courses there for the pilot companies from Medina County. There currently are 15 shared students in the program with eight registered to LCCC and seven registered to Tri-C. We have taken collaboration to a new level and broken down barriers between colleges.

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and an approved state-registered apprenticeship?

ApprenticeOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, approves these apprenticeships, and these apprentices are required to meet strict codes. Students end up with a credential that’s nationally portable. Employers are recognized for maintaining high standards of quality training and advancement.  LCCC offers lots of support for the employers, which results in better retention of skilled talent.

What manufacturing apprenticeships do you offer?

Currently, we offer apprenticeships in all of the programs in the engineering division, including alternative energy, automation engineering, construction, digital fabrication, electronic engineering, engineering technology, industrial safety, manufacturing engineering, mechatronics, welding, but not all of them are state-registered. We are trying to get digital fabrication, industrial safety, mechatronics and welding into the state-approved program since those are the fields where employees can succeed with training and a journeyman’s card, while the other areas usually require a bachelor’s degree to work in the field. The current state-registered cohort is in tool & die. We already have submitted industrial safety to the state and will be submitting welding and agriculture next.

How does a company become part of this program?

They need to sign on as a partner with a letter of support and have one journeyman, or someone with equivalent experience, in their organization per apprentice who is willing to supervise on-the-job training.

Do the students or the participating companies get paid?

These apprenticeships are a win-win for everyone: The sponsoring company gets skilled employees and a $2,500 stipend from the state through April 2019 for each new apprentice; the apprentice continues to earn a full-time salary while their classes paid are for by their employer, which means no student-loan debt and years of income; and Tri-C and LCCC get students.

In the end, it only costs a participating company about $2,500 in educational costs, after the stipend, to develop a high-potential employee into a skilled, state-licensed journeyman. In addition, the registered apprentice has a state identification number, not just a college certification. So, when he or she finishes, that person is a journeyman who is qualified to work anywhere in the industry, not just trained in that company’s methods. Finally, the student will graduate with a one-year certification or an associate’s degree that can be applied to further education.

How long do the apprenticeships run?

The current tool & die program requires 780 contact (in-class) hours with the teacher, 32 semester credit hours and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. It takes about 3.5 years to complete the course credit, since there are no summer classes held so that employees can work overtime during the busy season then another six months to complete the work hours. So, in four years, apprentices get the “golden ticket.”

Which companies currently are participating?

Twelve companies came to us and said they would each bring at least one employee in order for the class to run. We ran with 15 students in this first cohort who currently work for Automation Tool & Die, Clamco, Atlantic Tool & Die, Shiloh Industries, and Superior Roll Forming.

How do you help the sponsoring companies?

Since most human resources teams do not have the time to administer an apprenticeship in a small- to mid-sized company, we shift the burden of administrative duties to the college as the sponsor. We do all of the paperwork and work with the state.

What is does the RAMP acronym at LCCC refer to?

Retooling Adults in Manufacturing Programs. It’s basically an acronym that we use to brand our restructured manufacturing programs that now have stackable credentials to allow students to build on their education and training with a certificate, a one-year degree and an associate’s degree that is then transferrable to a four-year university toward a bachelor’s degree for fields that require one.

Do you currently have a mobile classroom?

We have an eight-student mobile welding trailer sponsored by Lincoln Electric, and Cuyahoga Community College has a manufacturing trailer. We rent the trailers to each other in order to share resources to best serve our students.

What is planned for the future?

As mentioned, we hope to add other areas of the engineering program to the state-registered apprenticeship training process, but since we are doing manufacturing well, we would like to add information technology, health care and other business-related areas in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College. And, we ALWAYS are looking for faculty in the trades who can teach part time around their work schedules.

Nick on of the students in LCCC's apprenticeship training program
Nick, one of the apprentices in the first cohort with LCCC/Tri-C’s apprenticeship training program

Fourth-generation metalworking shop works to generate student interest in manufacturing careers

Beverage Machine & Fabricators machined part
Part (convector plate) before machining
Beverage Machine & Fabricators part being machined
Part during machining
Beverage machine & fabricators finished machined part
Part after machining

In 1904, George Hewlett founded Cleveland Union Engineering Company in Cleveland’s Flats area. The company handled industrial metal manufacturing, welding, fabrication and steel erection. Hewlett’s daughter married John Geiger, who is the grandfather of the current owner, also John Geiger, and great-grandfather of Jake who also works for the company. In the 1920s, it began to develop and build equipment for the distillery and brewing industries to clean and pasturize milk jugs and beer bottles, hence a name change to Beverage Engineering. In the 1940s, it moved to its current location on Lakewood Heights Boulevard and transitioned its focus from beverage machines to machining for the war effort, and in 1957 it found its current incarnation as Beverage Machine & Fabricators, Inc. What do these changes signify? Adaptability! And, Beverage Machine has found its niche.

Though the company no longer is part of the beverage machine industry, it has continued its journey in the metalworking industry and now machines (cuts or finishes) hard-to-machine metal parts made from inconel, monel, stainless steel and titanium. It also has larger machines that can handle bigger, heavier pieces (up to 10 feet in diameter and 24,000 pounds) for the steel, energy, power, mining, nuclear, aerospace and defense industries. For example, it did a project for SpaceX last year, a company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. Beverage Machine also only handles one-off pieces and smaller orders rather than high-volume production. Its orders range from one to 25 pieces at a time. Five years ago, it added waterjet cutting to its capability, which broke the company out of traditional metal machining. Using the waterjet, the company has done work for sign and glass companies and machined the glass awards for last year’s Tri-C JazzFest. With one piece of equipment, it expanded capacity and its customer base.

All of Beverage Machine’s customers are regional, and they are served by only 16 employees. The company mainly employees machinists and is looking to and is willing to train a suitable candidate. Josh Smith, Beverage Machine’s waterjet technician, says that the impact on today’s labor problem started years ago when schools did away with shop programs and put the focus on college prep. He’s worked for the company for 16 years, and his dad has been the plant manager for 25 years. He says, “When I went to school, the perception was that JVS [joint vocational school] was where the stoners and illiterates went and that everyone who can think goes to college.” He says that in five years everyone in the industry will be retiring, and there’s going to be a shortage of skilled labor. He adds that the industry has to reach students when they are 11 or 12 to show them that jobs in manufacturing are cool and innovative. To that end, he has started “ThinkSpark,” a grassroots movement to create a foundation in Lorain County to inspire and mentor youth to consider careers in manufacturing, to partner with schools and connect children with technical programs, to develop a makerspace for youth in the program, and to create a robotic competition similar to AWT’s RoboBots that takes place every April at Lakeland Community College.

John Geiger relates that the manufacturing industry in the area is healthy, but that his biggest challenge, which is the same for all manufacturers, is finding skilled labor or even unskilled labor who are interested in technical training. Recently, he met with representatives from Lorain County Community College about bringing students in for an apprenticeship training program.

From Founder John Geiger to his son, John Geiger, a machinist, to his son, John Geiger, a history major and sales specialist, to his son, John, aka Jake, Geiger, a business management major, the company has stayed in the hands of this capable family for four generations. John says about his business, “There is enough domestic need, and our niche gives us enough work. China can’t serve these industries because customers have a part dependency and need it today.” He shares, “I get satisfaction in seeing what we create every day. It’s a tangible result.” His son, Jake, adds, “It’s rewarding to have a part come in and see the finished part leave the shop.” As Josh Smith sums up, “What sets John apart is that he can see the greater good and a need. He sees what we can do for the next generation. It’s not about making money. It’s about family.

Beverage Machine & Fabricators shop with gantry crane
One of two shops and the gantry crane used to lift heavy parts

 

LCCC works with manufacturers to create apprenticeship programs

On Mar. 20, a group of educators, manufacturers, state liaisons and manufacturing nonprofits met at Lorain County Community College for its “Power of Apprenticeship” conference. Keynote Speaker Denise Ball of Tooling U-SME gave an enlightening presentation on the Zs and Millennials, our future workforce, and how communicate effectively with them in order to attract and retain new talent as well as the need for intergenerational training. Chrissy Cooney, outreach specialist for LCCC, presented an industry panel via video that included a manufacturing company, an apprenticeship trainer at that company and two apprentices in the program. She also presented an overview of how a state-registered apprenticeship program works, including the $2,500 stipend for employers participating in the program. For more information about the Z and Millennial generations or to receive a whitepaper on the topic of the Millennials, contact Denise Ball of Tooling U at 866.706.8665. For information about LCCC’s assistance with an apprenticeship program, contact Tammy Jenkins at 440.366.4833 or Chrissy Cooney at 440.366.4325.

Denise Ball Tooling U SME

LCCC hosts “The Power of Apprenticeship” event

LCCC Lorain County Community College logoClick here to register for Lorain County Community College’s “The Power of Apprenticeships” event on Mar. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m at LCCC’s Spitzer Center Room 117/118 at 1005 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria, Ohio. Here’s the agenda. All manufacturers are welcome! You should attend if you are interested in a state-registered apprenticeship program that helps employers upskill incumbent workers and allows them to hire unskilled workers who will become highly skilled workers. HGR Industrial Surplus will be there.

8:30 – 9 a.m. – Breakfast and Networking

9:00 a. m. – Welcome

9:05 – 10 a.m. – Keynote Speaker

  • Denise Ball of Tooling U-SME,

Z’s & Millennials – Your Future Workforce

10:00 – 10:15 a. m. – What Industry has to Say?

  • Introduction of Apprentice Ohio team:
    • Erich Hetzel – Apprenticeship Service Provider
    • Georgianna Lowe – Field Operations Supervisor

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. – Break; Snacks and Beverages

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Learn how a Registered Apprenticeship Program works

11:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Q & A

An update on HGR’s 2015 manufacturing scholarship recipient

Jon Berkel Elyria Foundry
(photo courtesy of Elyria Foundry)

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jonathan Berkel, 2015 HGR Industrial Surplus Manufacturing Scholarship recipient)

Ever since I received the manufacturing scholarship from HGR Industrial Surplus in 2015 and graduated from Elyria High School and Lorain County JVS where I studied welding and fabrication, I have been furthering my education at Lorain County Community College to earn an associate of science degree. In fall 2017, I will be transferring to The Ohio State University to earn my bachelor’s degree in welding engineering.

For the past year and half at Lorain County Community College I have been taking classes in math, science, English and general education that will transfer to The Ohio State University. These courses will prepare me for future courses that I will take in order to pursue my degree.

While attending classes, I work part-time, and I work full-time when classes are not in session at Elyria Pattern Co., since I graduated high school as a welder and a pattern maker. I do a little bit of everything. I am working on some projects for Elyria Foundry. I also have been working on frames for the base of the patterns. These frames go on the base of the pattern to give the base stronger support.

I would like wish all the 2017 scholarship nominees good luck.

Jon Berkel welding
(Jonathan welding)

Tips & tricks for implementing Lean/Six Sigma tools

Lean manufacturing

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Chris Adams MBA, Lean BB and Six Sigma BB)

Lean and Six Sigma have been methodologies I have used throughout my career, whether I knew them at that time by those names or not. Educated in Industrial and Operations Engineering “at that school up north,” The University of Michigan, and subsequently obtaining an MBA at The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, I was fortunate enough to get the strict schooling behind me and then later obtained my Lean Black Belt through the corporate Lean office of Emerson Electric in St. Louis and my Six Sigma Black Belt through Lorain County Community College via Dan Sommers who is a Six Sigma Black Belt alumni from GE Lighting.

The vast majority of my experience with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies has come through the manufacturing world. So, the first tip I would propose is to start with the Lean Journey 5S (or sometimes companies choose to use 6S to call out safety separately) if you and your organization have the wherewithal and commitment. Instituting the rigors of 5S and then maintaining are definitely a place where good standard work and an audit process pay off.

But, many an organization is too impatient to allow for the “cost” of 5S and the, sometimes, soft-cost savings to be returned. So, my second tip, Value Stream Mapping is still the way to make the current state be documented and understood as well as provide for the solid basis on which future-state Value Stream Maps can drive the profitability of an organization in the right direction.

My third tip is to use, sooner rather than later, the Value Stream Mapping process to understand back to the suppliers’ supplier and forward to the customers’ customer. I have been with organizations that have been successful in implementing and working with their suppliers and customers as a win-win in the value chain.

The fourth tip is to have a solid foundation for the process used to implement project- or process-based change. In my last two roles, I have been fortunate enough to work with organizations that were committed enough to the process of leading change that Policy Deployment (or Strategy Deployment or X-matrix) were truly practiced. An organization that waterfalls its top three to five main corporate objectives to the associate on the floor really understands what teamwork is all about.

My fifth and final tip is that, although my experience (and to this point) a significant amount of the use of Lean and Six Sigma tools have come through the manufacturing world, service industries are a hotbed where these tools can be more universally applied. In my personal experience as a volunteer at one of the most respected hospital systems in the world, we’ve learned that a process is a process and can be improved.