Manufacturing center fixes employers’ needs

WOODSIDE — The Delaware Manufacturing Development Center has recently created a new program for local companies who are in need of employees with the mechanical skill set to fill their open positions.

This program is conjoined with the adult education offered at Polytech in Woodside.

In particular, the center trains people to fix production lines in any given manufacturing industry.

Its sister program is primarily a metal manufacturing training program. John Morris, workforce development specialist of the DMDC, says this program consists of ”sheet metal, welding, anything that if a product gets made out of metal, it’s gonna train people who can work in that field.”

Some of the companies working with the Delaware Manufacturing Development Center to contribute employees and further education are Edgewell (formerly Playtex and Energizer), Baltimore Aircoil, Perdue Foods, Procter & Gamble, and more.

Before any of the employers may hire one from the program, the students go through a set of assessments or the company provides tests that determine one’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We do have some assessments, hands-on, that we can give to employers or students,” Mr. Morris said. “When you enroll into some of our programs, we do do what is called TABE testing (Testing of Adult Basic Education). For manufacturing we have a set of assessment devices that will assess a person’s skills when it comes to fixing manufacturing machinery.”

These tests assess a student’s problem solving skills in a time constrained environment.

Not all students in the program are new to the career field.

“We have students that come in that aren’t employed that are trying to gain a skill set to gain employment and we also have students that are employed and their employer is wanting them to go to this training.” said Mr. Morris.

“I think this program is really useful for someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience,” said electromechanical technician program student Wayne Boyd.

“I have a lot of experience in all this but I still learn stuff everyday.”
For some, the program is a second chance at a well-paying career.
“I actually have 20 years in HVAC and I had a bad knee,” said Mr. Boyd. “I had my knee replaced about six months ago. So I had to have a change in careers because I can’t do that career anymore.”

The DMDC creates their adult education programs based on the industries needs and accommodates these needs with a customized education for a particular job requirement.

“I am looking towards a career instead of just a job.” said Zach Kroger, an electromechanics student Zach Kroger. ”It’s an excellent program to get into. It’s actually, really, a lot of hands on work and you’re challenged.”

Torie Seagraves is a senior broadcast media student at Polytech High School.

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