Career and Technological Education supervisor Renny Whittenbarger said the program was in response to the needs of local industries and the continued interest of students in the engineering programs.
The addition of engineering applications, which focuses on electromechanical studies and mechatronics, are in line with the state’s Pathways to Prosperity. The program is currently active in four Southeast Tennessee counties: Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn and Marion. Each is dedicated to engaging schools, businesses, nonprofits, postsecondary institutions and local government to “implement career pathways” which meet regional workforce needs.
Whittenbarger said local industries, like Eaton and Cormetech, made it clear jobs were available for graduates with the right education.
“They are on board with us to support us financially. They get out and campaign for us with the powers-to-be in our community,” Whittenbarger said. “[Local industries] are very much on board with the program.”
He said the goal of the new program is to give students as realistic as possible training on equipment they will see in the industrial world.
Engineering and Architecture instructor David Gluckner highlighted three pieces of equipment to be used by students in the EA course load. He focused first on the JobMaster Two-Sided Mobile Learning Station before moving on to the BenchMill 6000 and the MakerBot: Replicator 2 3D printer. Three-D printing or additive manufacturing, is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of almost any shape from a digital model.
“In a sense the students would be able to go from set to set to set to incorporate different projects we have going on at one time,” Gluckner said. “It can get very congested and very slow ... with so many students around [one project].”
According to Gluckner, the EA courses will keep students mobile while they learn real-industry skills.
Whittenbarger and Gluckner both expressed excitement at the addition of the JobMaster learning station. The students will have the opportunity to install, operate and troubleshoot subsystems of the basic cell. An informational JobMaster sheet listed the subsystems as: conveyor drive and control; industrial lighting; three-phase motor controls and variable frequency drive; lubrication components; and DC motor controls and drive among others.
Equipment found on the JobMaster can be purchased at Lowe’s. Whittenbarger said the components are actual industrial-level equipment.
Gluckner spoke about the possibility of a capstone course where students go on-site to local industries two to three times a week while earning college credit through a postsecondary institution such as Cleveland State.
Whittenbarger pointed out there are three different ways for students to become nationally certified through the use of the program’s equipment.
Added Whittenbarger, “I think that makes our students a little more marketable in the job market and looks good not only on a resume, but on a transcript, if they choose to go to college.”
Gluckner assured guests and local industry representatives the students will be well-versed in safety protocols before using the equipment.
The engineering applications course joins the civil/architecture engineering, digital electronics and biomedical engineering courses currently offered under the Engineering Department at Cleveland High.