ROCKLIN – The number one concern of Placer County manufacturers is a “lack of labor force with appropriate skills” according to a June 2006 Sacramento Regional Research Institute survey. To address this need, the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) (sierracollegetraning.com) won a $250,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to develop a new Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining program to prepare high school students for high paying manufacturing jobs in demand locally.
The Sierra College CACT will partner with Lincoln High School to establish the new curriculum and develop a hands-on, project-based laboratory. Lincoln High School students will be able to develop entry-level technical skills needed for positions such as a machinist, CNC operator and production supervisor. In addition, the new program will feed into the Sierra College degree and certificate programs in Mechatronics (realskillsrealjobs.com) and Engineering Support Technology.
In Placer County, 8,900 manufacturing workers comprise an annual payroll of nearly $600 million, explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge. “By coordinating with employers, our schools can prepare young people for highly skilled and highly paid local positions,” said Kittredge. “Career and technical education can fill a growing employment niche in Placer County with a pipeline of skilled workers. We also envision exposing young women to the excellent career opportunities in manufacturing.”
The hands-on, project-based courses will include Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machinery. The curriculum will be aligned with California Department of Education CTE standards.
According to Scott Seacrist, Lincoln High School teacher, this grant and partnership with Sierra College is a dream come true. “This new computer-aided machining program will be a great addition for the students who thrive in a computer oriented world,” said Seacrist. “With the lab equipment provided by the grant, students will be able to design parts for their cars, cut them out and use them in their cars; the parts will have the same look and function as parts they could buy and are probably better quality. This program will expose students to the same tools that they might use in a job with a local manufacturer. It opens up many new career opportunities.”
Seacrist has talked with local businesses about the program and found them to be very supportive. “Employers are excited about the curriculum because students will graduate with specific skills,” said Seacrist. “The students will have an advantage because they won’t need as much on-the-job training. Local companies have been very supportive and are providing valuable input to ensure that the students learn real world skills that will advance their careers."
The new program will be developed over the summer and next fall while standard industry machining equipment is ordered to fill the lab. Students will be able to start enrolling in classes in January 2008.
For more information, call Carol Pepper-Kittredge at 916-660-7801.