Gateway center will help meet high-tech, fast-paced needs of manufacturing
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Gateway center will help meet high-tech, fast-paced needs of manufacturing

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Today’s manufacturing industry and worker skills look much different than they did even a decade ago, business leaders say.

By and large, advanced technology and digital transformation culture (cleanliness) drive the industry, requiring many of its workers to be technologically savvy as well as able to fully implement all the strengths new tools bring to the workplace. One training facility for aspiring and current manufacturing workers to gain the advanced manufacturing skills needed in today’s industry is Gateway Technical College’s newly remodeled SC Johnson iMET Center, one local industry leader says.

“The center brings in the first broad-based industry programs that we’ve seen at a technical college in this area,” says Michael Cook, director of Rockwell Automation’s Automation University Partnerships Program. “The learning there aligns exactly to what’s needed today. It has a modern, integrated learning environment that has all the best elements of learning Manufacturing 4.0 in one facility.”

Cook says the worker of today – and the future – adeptly uses cutting-edge technology and grasps the reality of the need for continual learning, two elements that are part of the education in the upgraded SC Johnson iMET Center.

“It’s one thing to have the technology and to have one or two who know how to use that technology. It’s much different when you have many who know how to unlock the value of technology from a profitability perspective as well as a customer satisfaction perspective.”

Cook says manufacturing workers must possess technical skill sets as well as the ability to collaborate with others within their working group and across their company.

“It’s very fast-paced and requires high emotional intelligence, collaboration and the ability to constantly learn,” says Cook. “The pace is significantly higher that it was 20 or even 10 years.

“Industry itself sees that rapid pace of change, and it has accelerated the upskilling of our current workers. Older workers are going back to receive additional training. That’s where technical colleges come in. Colleges like Gateway are magical in their ability to connect education, workers and industry. There, a worker can receive additional training and return to the workplace quickly with fresh knowledge and skills.”

Gateway, with its SC Johnson iMET Center, has become a model college for that training. Rockwell has also invested in the center through the gift of equipment and knowledge in a lab spaced named after the company.

“Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht is a great leader and collaborator. He has a very {span}brave and bold vision for the SC Johnson iMET Center which is supported by industry – and I think it will be very successful.”

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