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Letters to the Editor

GUEST COMMENTARY: Advanced training aids career opportunities, assists industries

Machining tech center benefits students at both WACC, SVCC

Josh West – Dean of Business, Career, and Technical Programs at Sauk Valley Community College
Josh West – Dean of Business, Career, and Technical Programs at Sauk Valley Community College

This past May, the Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC) hosted a ribbon cutting for the new Machining Technology Center. The event was well attended and served as a celebration of the collective will of a multitude of partners to help manufacturing excel once again in the Sauk Valley region.

WACC teamed up with Sauk Valley Community College (SVCC), area manufacturers and machine shops to modernize the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) equipment housed at WACC.

To date, two new Haas vertical mills, two lathes, and six new CNC simulators have been purchased. More updates are on the way, thanks to $333,500 generously donated by companies and private donors.

This initiative sprung from an advisory council made up of local industries, SVCC, WACC, Morrison Tech, the Regional Office of Education, and government employees who work to offer extended internships for SVCC’s Multicraft Technology students.

While the group initially focused on growing the talent pool for people to work in industrial maintenance, discussions turned to the need for machinists, CNC operators and programmers, and tool and die makers.

Many skilled employees in this field are getting ready to retire, so it is instrumental to restock the pipeline so our area industries can continue to thrive.

With the new Machining Technology Center, WACC students will learn on advanced equipment during the day, and SVCC students will be able to take courses Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

The hope is to attract students to the field of machining and make them aware of the myriad positions that can lead into solid careers in manufacturing throughout the Sauk Valley.

Thanks to strong industry support, the Multicraft Technology Extended Internship Program is a great success, quadrupling enrollment over the past 2 years.

Our hope is that, thanks to great partnerships with these same industries, WACC, and community supporters, we will increase the amount of students interested in machining, CNC programming, and tool and die.

We will match their interest with advanced training at the new Machining Technology Center, and after that, a great job in the Sauk Valley region awaits.  

Note to readers: Josh West is dean of Business, Career, and Technical Programs at Sauk Valley Community College, rural Dixon.

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