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Terra, Materion partner in skilled trades program

Electricity/PLC Instructor Nicholas Elchert (right), helps J. Kirby Martin, Tiffin; Lee Snyder, Fostoria; and Nick Eschenbrenner, Genoa, establish communications between an operator interface terminal and a programmable controller in his graphical interface class.Officials at Materion Elmore have enlisted the assistance of Terra State Community College to ensure that an adequate and constant supply of skilled trades people is available to them.
“The ability to find and attract fully qualified trades people has been increasingly difficult,” Randall Drummond, plant manager, said in a statement. “This fact, along with the additional facts that less people are going into the trades with multiple skills and our current trades’ workforce is aging, led us to the realization that we needed to develop a long term flexible plan to attract and develop trades people internally at Elmore in addition to our normal recruiting efforts.”
Materion has developed the Skilled Trades Entry Program. It consists of a three-tier approach to allow people of various mechanical and electrical skills or specific educational background to gain entry and develop into fully qualified trades personnel.


Terra President Dr. Marsha S. Bordner has been involved in the process with Materion and sees considerable benefits for both sides.
“Materion is one of the most forward-looking businesses in our region,” she said. “Their willingness to work with Terra is just one example of their leadership and willingness to be innovative.  This partnership works for both our students and their business.”
The first two tiers involve those who have years of experience and certain skill sets (C1 and C2). The third tier, designated C4 and called Two-Year Degree (2YD), attracts people with a pre-defined associate’s degree in either the mechanical or electrical technical fields as developed with Terra.
The recognized degrees are: Manufacturing Engineering — Manufacturing Technology Major or Mechanical Engineering Technology Major, and Electricity — Power and Controls Major.
The two-year degreed hires will work at Elmore for hands-on training experience in conjunction with specifically developed, technically focused training that will be required and provided at Terra or a similarly defined and accepted academic institution.  A committee consisting of internal Elmore trade’s management and Human Resources will monitor and administer the program to ensure people hired into the program make required progress and develop into fully-qualified C1 trades personnel.
“Similar to what the previous Apprenticeship Program provided as opportunities to gain entrance to the skilled trades, we feel this will also be an opportunity for employees and external candidates by offering both a less than fully qualified and an academic route into the trades,” Drummond said.  “By developing and offering new avenues of entry, we feel that the skilled trades program will be a viable and reinvigorated program to benefit the company both short and long term.”
In addition to their work on the education component, faculty members at Terra have been working with Materion staff in developing and implementing an electrical maintenance apprenticeship assessment program.
Nicholas Elchert (Instructor/Programmable Logic Controllers) and Jeffery Hamilton (Instructor/Motor Controls) have been developing hands-on assessment components that will be used to help Materion assess the skills required by their facility to advance within the skilled trades program.
Terra will become a third-party testing facility.
“This partnership is an example of how Terra is helping a local industry benefit from the physical and intellectual resources we have to offer,” Elchert said.
John Carpenter (Instructor, Automotive/Power Technologies) and Kevin Walker (Machine Lab Supervisor) will be providing mechanical hands-on assessments.

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