28. August 2001 19:00
The high level of difficulty in finding well-rounded, multi-skilled students was the key topic discussed between area employers and Moraine Park Technical College staff during an Integrated Manufacturing Program summit, held August 15-16 at Moraine Park's Fond du Lac Campus.
By re-designing manufacturing programs to create broad-based learning experiences, Moraine Park will combine manufacturing related skills along with technological skills to produce well-rounded, multi-skilled graduates.
A number of businesses from in and out of the State worked with Moraine Park staff, students and instructors in the re-designing of new manufacturing-related courses. Quad Graphics, First Technologies, Inc., Wells Manufacturing, Giddings and Lewis, and Haldeman - Homme, Inc. (Minneapolis), were among several businesses who attended the summit.
"Employers shared their needs for high-level, multi-functional employees," said Bobbi Laine, dean - trades and computer technologies at Moraine Park. "We are implementing these needs into our curriculum, equipment and facility."
According to Moraine Park's Integrated Manufacturing-related Education Team (IMET), the new design would not only be more customer-responsive, but also create and offer additional technologically advanced educational opportunities in manufacturing-related areas. "Project- driven, cross-functional experiences will include working on projects with other students from different programs," said Laine. "They will work in a broad and open area which will facilitate the sharing of equipment and team work."
The manufacturing related areas include: industrial engineering/quality assurance, mechanical design, machine tool operation, machine maintenance and hydraulic technician, computer-aided manufacturing, fluid power and electro-mechanical technology.
By integrating these skills, students will learn how to use and operate equipment in many different areas, they will become more flexible and computer savvy. "This is going to be a new learning experience as we go along," says Dennis Barter, student at Moraine Park. "It will be new for everyone; students, faculty and administrators."
The IMET have re-designed manufacturing-related programs and is working on curriculum changes to support the integration. They also need to look at facility ramifications and determine how they will offer programmatic courses such as Lean Manufacturing, Materials Handling and Robotics.