Innovative Prison-to-School Training Program Presents its First Graduating ClassJuly 29, 2020
A four-week manufacturing-skills training program, launched in March to create a prison-to-school pipeline and address an urgent shortage of skilled workers in Northeast Ohio, has graduated its first class of nine students. Developed by the Workforce Connect Manufacturing Sector Partnership, a group of area manufacturing companies which strives to close the talent gap for manufacturing in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, and funded by several organizations, including the Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation (PMAEF), the program was facilitated by MAGNET (part of the NIST and Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership). When faced with the impact of COVID-19, MAGNET converted the training efforts to 80-percent virtual learning. Chromebooks and hotspots were purchased for each student, and for the necessary hands-on training, MAGNET constructed a specially designed classroom with plexiglass dividers, temperature checks and strict sanitation practices. The students received manufacturing training in print reading, quality systems and shop math, plus a full range of work-readiness skills.
“We are proud to support this important program, and it could serve as a model that can be replicated across the country,” says Nichol Lopriore, PMAEF executive director. “We need to build on-ramps into great careers in manufacturing for under-represented and often-overlooked populations. This includes unemployed, under-employed, and people returning to the workforce. It’s the right thing to do and it’s good for the future of manufacturing.”
Among the 10 local manufacturers helping to develop the program: Talan Products, Elsons International, and Alloy Engineering. “We’re excited to be part of a program that will introduce new manufacturing talent into the region,” says Pete Accorti, president of Talan Products. “As we emerge from the current crisis, the need to fill thousands of entry-level manufacturing jobs will return. This requires that we explore innovative approaches and involve often overlooked populations.”
See also: Precision Metalforming Association