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MCC focuses on manufacturing partnerships

(Provided photo)
McHenry County College robotics instructor Jack Brezezinski demonstrates how sensors integrate with the control systems in robots. Pictured (left to right) are high school students enrolled in MCC’s Introduction to Robotics for dual credit: Emily Stone of Algonquin, Ben Knight of Huntley, Brezezinski, Jordan Stack of Huntley, and John Stephan of Capron. MCC’s manufacturing program, which includes robotics, was the topic of a presentation made by college officials at a community college conference in Boston.

Members of the McHenry County College Board of Trustees and MCC President Vicky Smith recently shared their efforts in forging successful manufacturing partnerships at the annual Association of Community College Trustees Conference in Boston.

Event attendees included community college trustees, presidents and senior staff of community colleges from throughout the country. Several trustees, along with Smith and Tony Miksa, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, presented “The Resurrection of Manufacturing: How Developing Meaningful and Lasting Partnerships Can Build a Skilled Workforce and Rejuvenate an Industry.”

“I am very pleased that the McHenry County College Board of Trustees and college employees share a common goal to support the economic development of our community through working collaboratively with local businesses to anticipate their training and development needs,” Smith said.

She said MCC’s manufacturing program, which includes courses such as computer numerical controlled machining, welding, robotics and industrial maintenance, provides training to students and displaced workers so that they can enhance their mathematical, high-tech and computer science skills to become employable in the manufacturing and engineering fields.

The session in Boston highlighted how MCC is successfully collaborating with local corporations to develop and deliver curriculums that prepare students to enter the workforce with those in-demand skills that will fill empty positions and continue to move the industry forward. The presentation attracted 87 attendees.

“Many attendees said that they were impressed with our candor about how we retooled the process to ensure we are constantly meeting the needs of area manufacturers,” Smith said.

“I am very proud to represent an institution that is so focused on helping our community members become employable through providing the right kind of education and training for high-demand jobs,” added MCC Board Chair Mary Miller

For several years, MCC has partnered with TC Industries in Crystal Lake and Scot Forge in Spring Grove, helping to fill critical shortages for qualified workers. “The team at MCC has done an outstanding job in addressing the needs for training in CNC, robotics, welding and maintenance technology,” said Dick Deain, vice president of Operations at TC Industries.

“We have sent Scot Forge employees through various manufacturing-related classes at MCC,” said Ron Wieczorek, corporate director of Human Resources at Scot Forge. “We have found that it enhances the employees’ understanding of the manufacturing processes and allows the students to learn the skills and develop abilities that allow them not only to differentiate themselves in the workplace, but allows them to make a greater contribution to the organization, which impacts our bottom line,” he said.

“It was exciting making a presentation to educational leaders who were very interested in our results-driven approach,” Miksa said. “It truly shows how MCC is a community college leader in forging productive business relationships. After all, that is a primary purpose of any community college – to deliver on the educational needs of our community in order to further personal and economic growth.”

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