Rockford Campus Offers New CNC Robotic Manufacturing Program
Rockford Career College, which has been serving Illinois since 1862, is hosting an open house and grand opening to introduce a new program designed to give students a head start in the manufacturing world.
The CNC and Robotic Manufacturing Technology diploma program will be introduced to the community on Thursday, September 15, at an open house from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., at the Rockford Career College campus, 1130 S. Alpine Road, Suite 100. Students interested in skilled trades will receive a behind the scenes look at the equipment in the Electrical Technician, Welding and new Computer Numeric Control labs. All students will have the opportunity to tour the campus and gather specific information on the programs they’re interested in.
The CNC and Robotic Manufacturing Technology diploma program prepares students to apply technical knowledge and skills to perform CNC (Computer Numerical Control) set-up, operation, programming, fixture design and inspection techniques, milling and turning, as well as preparing the student for a manufacturing environment. The program includes courses in blueprint reading, manufacturing occupations, basic machining, metallurgy, metrology techniques, mechanical design, CNC/CAD, fixture design, lean manufacturing, material management, robotics and cellular manufacturing. At the end of the program, all students will manufacture a product to demonstrate their abilities.
Dan Carlson, who works in operations management for Little Star Plastics, has nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry and was brought onboard to help design the curriculum. “We designed this program to give students an overview of all of the systems they’ll interface with,” he explained. “They’ll also learn the operations side, which will help prepare them for management positions down the road.”
Carlson says earning the two-year diploma is the equivalent of five years working in the field. “There used to be apprenticeship programs for people interested in going into this field, but most companies don’t offer them anymore,” he said.
Matt Marsili is the Trades Program Chair for Rockford Career College and has also been instrumental in creating this new program. He shares that it was created in response to requests from area employers. “There’s currently a huge gap in the workforce as there are many people who have retired,” he said. “Now that the economy is improving we have a lot of people looking to change jobs and they need the education to be able to do so. This program is designed to match up job-seekers with the employers who need them.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the United States will need 71,200 machine tool operators between now and 2024. That’s a projected growth of 14 percent or higher, which is much higher than average.
“Automation has changed the world and it will continue to do so,” Carlson explained. “We’ll continue to update this program as we need to, so that anyone who takes it will have up-to-date skills.”
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