In the state of New Jersey, once students are at the high school age, they have the opportunity to begin their career path by enrolling in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school. At the CTE high schools, along with the core high school curriculum, students learn a specific trade, like manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, manufacturing programs are not offered statewide. Manufacturing Technology programs should be implemented throughout New Jersey CTE high schools because there is a high demand for jobs in the field and many opportunities for students post-graduation.
Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, New Jersey, for example, has an exemplary Manufacturing Technology program for students interested in a career in the manufacturing industry. Every year, out of numerous applicants, only 18 are accepted into the program. With the smaller class size and the program’s two certified educators, the students have a more individualized learning environment. And the students have access to technology and machines that are used in the field, giving them more exposure and training with the equipment they will be using once they graduate.
During their first year in the program, the students will learn the responsibilities of a job in the manufacturing field and get hands on experience with the tools. Their second year is where they begin to work with the manual milling and lathe machines. By giving them the experience with the manual machines first, the students gain a better understanding of how the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines operate and function when they work with them during their third year. In their final year, the students will continue to work with the CNC machines and also participate in Co-Op programs, where they work in the field while they are still in school. The four year Manufacturing Technology program gives students the knowledge to be able to make products and practical designs; an experience they can build upon.
During their time in the Manufacturing program, students have also had the opportunity to work on professional projects before they graduate. Through the Passaic County Technical Institute’s partnership with High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH), students were able to design and prototype projects using materials, equipment, and mentoring from NASA. As stated in a press release, “Manufacturing Technology students were tasked with the challenge of utilizing their skills to lathe a screw sleeve for a stowage locker for the International Space Station – one of fifty-one parts manufactured directly by students of the HUNCH program.” To read more about the opportunities this partnership brings to Passaic County Technical Students, please visit https://www.nasahunch.com/2016/03/pcti-students-partner-with-nasa-hunch-program/.
The Manufacturing program at Passaic County Technical Institute gives students a foundation to take wherever they would like to go. Once they complete the program, students can begin working right away since they now have the knowledge and training experience with the tools and machines. If they would like to continue their education, they have the opportunity to go to a community college and pursue an Associate’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Or they also have the option to continue their education further and can pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. Passaic County Technical Institute is just the beginning.
Passaic County Technical Institute offers an exclusive Manufacturing Technology Program that gives students the familiarity and experience with the different types of equipment in the manufacturing field. Having a Manufacturing Technology program like the one at Passaic County Technical Institute incorporated into CTE high schools statewide would be beneficial. A career in manufacturing technology is one filled with opportunities and is important work that all students should have the opportunity to pursue.
To learn more about Passaic County Technical Institute, visit their website https://www.pcti.tec.nj.us/