The Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school system in North Carolina officially dedicated the new $200,000 Bosch Rexroth Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center at the Olympic Community of Schools (OCS) in Southwest Charlotte. The opening of the new center took place on the first day of NC Advanced Manufacturing and STEM Career Awareness Week.
The new 2,839-sq.-ft. center was initiated by an $80,000 founding grant by Bosch Rexroth Corporation and the Bosch Community Fund, with additional time and resources supplied by Bosch Rexroth, the Olympic Foundation, CMS and other advanced manufacturing firms in the Greater Charlotte area.
The facility will support a new Advanced Manufacturing Hub that gives students hands-on experience using state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies. The new center includes the latest in metal-cutting and finishing technology with multiple lathes, milling machines, saws and grinders, along with metrology and quality-control stations.
Industry leaders, public school officials and teachers collaborated on this project to create opportunities in STEM-oriented careers in the greater Charlotte region and to build a local supply of highly-skilled employees for technical positions.
Bosch Rexroth also lends a hand overseas with apprenticeship programs in Germany, and has seen success in creating careers for a younger generation. They hope similar programs in the U.S. will also show signs of success.
“Geographically, Germany is closer together and makes it easier to pool and obtain the talent. In the U.S., the apprenticeship programs need to be where the local demand for Advanced Manufacturing jobs are,” said Mark Rohlinger, technical plant manager, Bosch Rexroth. “A good local apprenticeship program needs to be available and supported by the local advanced manufacturers, and also by the local community colleges and universities. They have to have programs and required certifications to support it and the journeyman certificates that come with it. But also to create the awareness early on, especially for the students with the aptitude, it needs to extend down into the K through 12 grades as far as awareness and promotion goes.”
According to Bosch Rexroth’s Erwin Wieckowski, executive VP of factory automation, the new center is part of a strategy to get young people excited about opportunities in manufacturing. “Filling key technical positions in our factory here in Charlotte has never been harder. Our investment in the new Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center will help us build the technically-skilled workforce that we need locally,” he said. “That’s something that all of us in the manufacturing community can rally around.”
The company hopes to help fill those technical positions through creating awareness and interest among students.
“This then also supports all the local manufactures, our suppliers and other business partners who may not be able to support an apprenticeship themselves, but most likely will have the need for skilled workers at some time,” said Rohlinger. “Having a skilled supply helps us all with costs, flexibility, and responsiveness to the needs of our customers.”
The Bosch Rexroth Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center will be available for OCS students beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
Facilities in Fountain Inn, S.C., and Bethlehem, Pa., support similar local STEM and Apprenticeship programs, and the Bosch Community Fund is available for all the RBNA locations to use toward local STEM programs.
For a glance at more education programs in the industry, check out Fluid Power World’s October feature Students today, engineers tomorrow: Our future lies in their education
Olympic Community of Schools
Filed Under: News