Clark State lab prepares students for in-demand manufacturing jobs

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Clark state advanced manufacturing lab

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Clark State Community College leaders says more students have begun to show interest in the school’s Advanced Manufacturing Lab that prepares students for in-demand, good-paying jobs.

The school received a $2.5 million grant in 2014 from the U.S. Department of Labor. It allowed for the addition of several new programs and to completely renovate the lab space in Shull Hall. New certifications have been added, said Mary Benedict, project manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, as well as new technology.

READ MORE: Clark State shows off new manufacturing labs

Clark State offers programs like manufacturing foundation, welding and computer numerical control within the lab. Plus students get the chance to work with advanced machines like 3-D printers and a virtual welder.

“We have really had a long history in Springfield of advanced manufacturing,” she said. “And there’s been a need in the community for quite some time to create these training programs.”

Local employers have gotten involved with the programs as well, she said, to find qualified workers.

“Companies approach us and say, ‘We basically can’t take on this body of work unless we have a skilled workforce,’” Benedict said.

DETAILS: Clark State manufacturing, other programs ‘ticket to middle class’

The Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association toured the lab Thursday, an opportunity for local manufacturers to meet.

“We really want to showcase how we can provide the training in the region, how we’re helping to support this community in Springfield,” she said.

And students have good options once they receive their certificates, Welding Instructor Jonathan Pack said.

“There are lots of manufacturers around who need welders,” he said. “It’s estimated that two welders retire for every one who enters the field to replace them.”

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Besides the new technology and programs, Clark State’s manufacturing certifications offer unique counseling opportunities for students.

“Life gets in the way for a lot of our students,” Career Navigator Jennifer Chilman said. “We have a lot of first generation students.”

Chilman helps students connect with resources they need to complete their certificates.

“Our students tend to be a little bit older,” she said. “We have many students who have been out in the manufacturing field and now realize they need to upscale themselves.”

The manufacturing programs have grown in popularity, she said, with about 180 students enrolled now.

“The students that come through here come out with a great skill set and employers in this area are looking for this skill set specifically,” Chilman said.

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