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Center for Technology and Health Education

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At the SPCC Center for Technology and Health Education Mark Sorrells, Senior Vice President, Golden LEAF Foundation, meets with two South Piedmont students who are doing an apprenticeship at Greiner Bio-One and the company’s apprenticeship director.

At the SPCC Center for Technology and Health Education Mark Sorrells, Senior Vice President, Golden LEAF Foundation, meets with two South Piedmont students who are doing an apprenticeship at Greiner Bio-One and the company’s apprenticeship director.

South Piedmont celebrated the completed work on Phase 1 of its new Center for Technology and Health Education with a ribbon cutting on August 23, 2013. All instructional aspects of the College’s advanced manufacturing and industrial maintenance programs, including mechatronics and CNC machining courses, have been consolidated into the nearly 50,000-square-foot facility at 3509 Old Charlotte Highway in Monroe.

The project was made possible by $3 million in private grant funds—including support from Duke Energy, OMNOVA, and the Golden LEAF Foundation—for start-up courses and the purchase of sophisticated manufacturing equipment and an additional $3.5 million from Union County for the purchase of the building and property.

The expanded lab will provide students with the opportunity for extensive hands-on experience and one-on-one instruction, hallmarks of South Piedmont’s approach to training.

“This is an important step toward meeting our region’s growing need for a highly-skilled workforce that is prepared for jobs in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and energy,” said Sidor. “It will help us train men and women for great jobs that are available right now to those with the right training, and it strengthens the college as a valuable resource for workforce and economic development in Union and Anson counties.”

The college welcomed local, state and federal legislative representatives, county and municipal leaders, educational partners, manufacturers, and the media. Demonstrations of the Center’s equipment and training capabilities followed the remarks.

The next two phases of the project will include the expansion of classroom, lab, and office space to support the relocation of healthcare and law enforcement training programs.

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at the Center
South Piedmont has an extensive selection of equipment, including a flexible manufacturing system. Machines and training materials valued at more than $3 million have been purchased with support from Duke Energy, Golden LEAF Foundation and OMNOVA Foundation.

The mechatronics machine ties together a number of functions, including programmable logic controllers, pneumatics, motion controls, hydraulics and robotics. The robotic arm can, for example, add bolts as a mechanical part travels on a belt through eight building stations.

“We train novice and experienced people on basic machine and systems maintenance, repair and troubleshooting,” said Dennis Baucom, Director of Vocational Trades. “Our instructors show students how to handle electrical wiring, motor controls, PLCs, pump systems and mechanical drive systems.”

Employer needs led to the establishment of the QuickStart CNC Operator PLUS course. At a cost of less than $800, this 10-week class shows students how to read blueprints; measure; calculate basic and applied shop math; and program and operate a CNC lathe and mill.

Small class size gives students one-on-one attention and extensive hands-on skills practice. “We offer short-term classes throughout the year so that our students can quickly get trained for jobs,” said Baucom. “We train people right out of high school and people looking for a career change.”

South Piedmont offers additional short-term classes in advanced manufacturing. Training options include integrated systems technology and advanced machining.

Credentials for Career Path
New for academic year 2013-2014 are four two-year degrees in the field of engineering technology. Graduates will be prepared to assist in the design, development, testing, troubleshooting and repair of engineered systems. “Emphasis across the curriculum is on the integration of theory and hands-on application of engineering technology principles,” said Dr. Maria Lander, dean of Applied Science and Technology. With this additional training for broad skills and problem-solving, graduates will have the credentials for jobs requiring planning and supervisory responsibilities. And, graduates will have college credit to pursue a four-year degree in engineering.