Focus On Local Community Colleges

Hopefully you have seen some improvement in your business because of the rebound in the economy. As result, you may be increasing employment.

Hopefully you have seen some improvement in your business because of the rebound in the economy. As result, you may be increasing employment. Are you having a difficult time finding qualified, skilled employees?

Shops that have survived the economic downturn and are thriving in today’s global marketplace are finding it increasingly difficult to hire qualified candidates with the math and science knowledge they need to perform the tasks demanded of them.

If it has been some time since you have talked with educators and administrators in your area about your needs, it is time to make those connections again. You might be surprised at the programs and partnerships that exist for businesses and industries.

An example is the ATCs (Advanced Technical Centers) at community colleges around the country. An ATC operation is about bricks and mortar, machines and technology, but it is also an effort to use the workforce and economic development resources of a community college or similar institution to reach out to businesses and industries.

The organizational model of an ATC usually reflects the needs of the community and it deals with the application of new, leading technology. As a result, many ATCs are equipped with state-of-the-art CNC machine tools and tooling, and they have experienced instructors teaching students.

Some of the top ATCs formed the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC) ( This network advocates the use of technology applications that enhance economic and workforce development programs and services. Many of the member schools are, or are in the process of becoming, accredited by The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) ( They are preparing tomorrow’s workforce of certified production machinists.

When you visit with educators, encourage them to attend the Student Summit at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2004). The Summit focuses on career opportunities, provides orientation on the state of manufacturing technology and acts as an introduction to emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and biotechnology. It also offers the opportunity to interface with industry representatives and other students already on a career path in manufacturing technology. You can find out more at

IMTS will include something else for students: The cable channel TLC will bring its Emmy-nominated series “Junkyard Wars” road show to McCormick Place. Students will work in teams during this hands-on experience. They will learn about the effects of gravity, physics, engineering and aerodynamics while building and racing cars they have made out of re-purposed junk.

Students will come away from IMTS with excitement and a positive outlook on manufacturing as a career option. Being involved with local educators will allow you to tap into these enthusiastic students and set them on a path to your company.