Students, educators, industry leaders, and business leaders joined Hurco and Lincoln College of Technology in Indianapolis to commemorate Manufacturing Day with the grand opening of the Hurco CNC Technology Center at Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus. Todd Clark, Indianapolis Campus President of Lincoln College of Technology, cut the ribbon to officially unveil the 5,000ft2 CNC machining center equipped with 10 brand-new Hurco CNC machining centers and turning centers.
Greg Volovic, president of Hurco Companies Inc., said, “Our CNC technology is extremely beneficial to the classroom environment because the integrated control supports multiple ways to program parts. Today, manufacturing is about technology – it’s where skilled trades and technology meet, and Hurco CNC mills and lathes provide the technology piece that increases the value and relevance of the skills students learn.”
Lincoln's President and COO Scott Shaw stated, "We are excited to unveil the Hurco CNC Technology Center, and for our students to have the opportunity to train on Hurco machines. Our CNC Machining program will prepare students to join a growing and desirable industry as entry-level CNC operators or set-up technicians in today's modern manufacturing facilities. Opportunities for trained CNC Machinists throughout Indiana are projected to increase 19% between 2010 and 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing career fields in the state."
In addition to Volovic and Shaw, several business and industry leaders emphasized the need for more manufacturing education programs and the importance of changing misconceptions about careers in manufacturing.
William Turner, director of education and development at Allison Transmission, said manufacturing is a technology-driven career. He told the audience that many of the employees at Allison have worked there for 30+ years and he needs to ensure there are qualified employees to fill the positions they will vacate in the future. Turner said a four-year Bachelors degree isn’t the best path for all students and education programs that focus on middle skills are critical to the success of companies like Allison.
Gabe Draper, owner of Draper Manufacturing, and the President of the Indiana chapter of the National Tooling and Manufacturing Association (NTMA), said an often discussed topic at NTMA meetings is the adverse impact of the skills gap in Indiana with so few qualified machinists available for employment. While most of his employees are trained machinists, he has hired some people with no experience and helped them work their way up by training them on the job. In addition to individual motivation, Draper attributes much of their success to the user-friendly attributes of his Hurco CNC machine tools equipped with conversational programming, which he says is intuitive and easy to learn.
Brian Burton, vice president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association, echoed the importance of manufacturing in Indiana with a few statistics: one in five Indiana residents are employed by the manufacturing sector, nearly one-third of the state’s economy is generated by the manufacturing sector, and the average total wage (wages plus benefits) for manufacturing is more than $70,000/year.
In addition to the day's ribbon-cutting ceremony, machining demonstrations and campus tours, attendees were also treated to a special guest appearance and autograph signing by Vinnie DiMartino, celebrated mechanic and machinist of Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" Series, and owner of DiMartino Motorsports.