Current and future students at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College can now learn how to use state-of-the-art machining technologies.The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded the college a $491,000 grant to update its Computer-Integrated Machining Technology program. “We went through a lengthy process. It was two rounds of trying to get the grant. It was pretty intense. We were thrilled to see we got it. It is a very competitive process,” said Paula Dibley, Director of Marketing and Communications for the college.Many local businesses supported Rowan-Cabarrus in the effort – including Roush Yates Racing Engines, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Atlas Signs and Martin Marietta Materials. With the grant, the college will purchase new machines to replace the outdated ones currently used by the school. “Right now, our equipment for the machining program isn’t up-to-speed with the industry. In order to ensure that our students get the best practical training possible, we need them to work on the same equipment that is used in these companies,” said Jason Hill, an instructor in Computer-Integrated Machining Technology and project director for the new grant.“You can’t just talk about these skills – students need to actually perform them in a simulated environment.” Dibley adds, “Currently, our equipment is functional, but it is older.“So it is not as high tech. Programming that can take half an hour to do on the new equipment can take eight hours on our old machines. So getting the right equipment that is industry standard is critical.”Along with equipment and updating some of the classes, additional money will also be used to create two classes and to promote the new programs.“The biggest challenge that we will face with it is trying to change the perception locally associated with manufacturing jobs. ... Everything is really high tech. So one of our marketing goals is to try to shake up those perceptions,” said Dibley. The college also will revamp its high school program: Career and College Promise Pathway. Current and rising high school students from Cabarrus County, Kannapolis City and Rowan-Salisbury school systems will be able to get an early start on working with the machines.“We restructured the entire high school program to get more kids into the program,” Hill said.“They will leave after their senior year with every certification that someone going through the two-year program would have. So they can come right out and have the same skills as someone who did a two-year.“It’s also going to affect entering ninth and tenth graders, because it will pay for two summer academies that will go on for two years ... and hopefully it will continue to go on. They will be weeklong academies where they will do hands-on projects. Also, all the industry certification over the next few years is paid for. Students can get that for free. They don’t have to get that out of pocket.”The new Computer-Integrated program will begin during the fall semester this year. For more information, call 704-216-3933 or Rowan-Cabarrus at 704-216-7222.
Friday, Feb. 01, 2013
Foundation gives grant to RCCC
$491,000 will pay for update of Computer-Integrated Machining Technology program
Jason Hill,left, helps assist a student with one of the colleges current machines. New up-to-standard machinery will be purchased for the upcoming fall semester.