Skilled trades and manufacturing programs move, expand at new location
by Josiah Thomas | News Editor
Photo by Clarisa Russenberger | Photo Editor
Schoolcraft College is determined to see students succeed through education, certification and job training. One of the ways they are meeting these goals is with the best facilities possible; good facilities enhance programs and the student experience, something Schoolcraft College is fully aware of.
The new Manufacturing and Engineering Center is set to achieve Schoolcraft’s goal of getting students ready for the real world of skilled trades and manufacturing. Schoolcraft’s Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Glenn Cerny, has worked closely with instructional operations and Schoolcraft President Dr. Conway Jeffress to ensure that Schoolcraft defines what’s needed for students and faculty in the next decade.
The building is a 48,000 sq. ft. warehouse located adjacent to the Public Safety Training Complex, currently under renovation to fit the needs of the college. Work began October and its estimated completion is summer 2020.
This is part of Schoolcraft’s plan for synergy: development that coordinates and combines resources to achieve a desired goal. Moving existing programs in skilled trades, manufacturing programs and their operations from the north end of Applied Sciences (AS) to the new facility is the next step.
The MEC is a landmark project both for the college and the community.
“We felt that the Manufacturing and Engineering Center being an industrial complex makes a lot of sense,” said Cerny. “Not only does it allow easy access for the students to come and go, but our (business) partners are right next door.”
Currently, local businesses are partnering with Schoolcraft to have their employees trained at Applied Sciences for training and certificates. The MEC will provide more space and resources to expand and improve the programs with. It’ll also more accurately replicate current practices in skilled trades.
One example is the plastics technology program.
A machine worth $250,000 was donated to Schoolcraft, but the college can’t use it currently due to a lack of space. Welding doesn’t have enough space right now either and it’s problematic for professor Coley McClain and the welding students because they want to meet demand in the field.
With the new MEC, problems like those will be alleviated.
The best computer labs, tools, equipment and facilities will be available, with more than enough space. Welding will get a “FAB lab”: a large room at the MEC that’ll double the number of booths for students to work in. Also, Professor Gene Keyes’ area will have a classroom within the lab and another classroom just outside.
Applied Sciences, meanwhile, will be renamed “Health Sciences” in order to focus on healthcare and nursing, grow existing programs in these fields, add Radiology and Surgical Technologist programs as part of the 36,700 sq. ft. addition to that building.
Schoolcraft’s faculty has been deeply involved in setting up the programs. College administrators have worked with them to make sure they’ve got what they need, taking that information, working with the architects and construction managers to put all the meetings needed into a program that can be developed, designed, built and then implemented.
Of these developments and new opportunities, Cerny said that Professors Keyes and McClain are “ecstatic; they can’t wait for the students to come to class next fall.”