Michigan High School to Celebrate Manufacturer Involvement in CTE Programs

After DMG MORI’s contribution of a five-axis CNC machining center, other manufacturers pitched in with donations of equipment and services.

On Oct. 23, 2017, Piper Bognar, Superintendent of Van Dyke Public Schools in Michigan, will host a celebration of a partnership with local manufacturers, thanking local business partners, sharing student success stories and demonstrating the capabilities of a new five-axis CNC machine in Lincoln High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) center.  

Lincoln High School in the Van Dyke Public Schools district has been preparing students to transition from high school to post-secondary or college for many years. In 2010, the Board of Education supported the building of a state-of-the-art CTE Center to house its CTE programs, including Mechanical Drafting/CAD and Manufacturing Technology.

Over the past few years, the CAD and manufacturing programs have been partnering with local companies for the benefit of students and employers, with the result that student interns and graduates find jobs in their local communities. This partnership began when teacher Fred Cook began inviting local companies to visit the CTE programs and to provide input twice a year on an advisory board. Rick Hecker, President of Eifel Mold & Manufacturing (Fraser, Michigan), has served as the advisory chairperson for the past several years, inviting additional local manufacturers to join in. Thanks to the collaboration, students now have opportunities to tour facilities, shadow workers on the shop floor, obtain coop positions and find full-time employment. Each year, students spend a half day at Eifel learning the “art-to-part” process of design and manufacturing, with an opportunity to leave with a product they have created.

This year, the district’s partnership efforts advanced when Mr. Hecker attended a conference sponsored by DMG MORI. He was introduced to President Dr. Masahiko Mori and took the opportunity to share the success story of the partnership. Dr. Mori offered to place a five-axis CNC machine at Lincoln High School on a “zero-dollar lease arrangement” for the next two years. When Hecker shared news of this generous donation back home, the local business partners began to add their own generosity. Mr. Hecker suggested that a grant be submitted to the American Mold Builders Association to receive funding to support the partnership activities. The AMBA responded with a $10,000 grant award.

To ensure that the donated DMG MORI machine could be installed and operated with no burden on the school district’s budget, Metro Air lent the required air compressor, piping and labor to install it. Powertran gave the school a transformer. Autodesk provided 75 licenses for its PowerMill software. Precision Mold and Manufacturing is creating and donating decals of the partner companies for the building.

Regarding all the donations, Lincoln High School Principal Billie Sczepaniak says, “It feels like winning the lottery!”

The DMG MORI machine was installed in September. The company sent an applications engineer to the high school to provide three days of training for the teachers as well as recent graduate and current Eifel Mold employee Yousif Akoob.