Todd County's training facility for high school youth and adults has the right stuff, an official with Novelis Inc., Guthrie's new automotive aluminum sheet manufacturing company, said on Monday.
"This center has the right technology at the right time," noted Paul Banks, Novelis plant manager, during a rebranding ceremony for the newly-named Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
Speaking during the ceremony at the facility that sits adjacent to Todd County Central High School, Banks lauded the foresight of those who built the facility and who guided its recent rebranding.
Opening three years ago as the Todd County Career Path Institute, the center is now taking a new direction with its identity as the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, and Banks said the students and adults studying at the facility will learn skills that will help them build lives.
Signage with the new name and logo was unveiled during the ceremony on Monday.
Beginning in the fall, the technology center will offer a diesel technology program and other courses that will be open to adults in the evenings, in addition to the welding and industrial maintenance technology programs that have already been offered and which are geared to high school students.
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Hopkinsville Community College President Dr. Alissa Young said the college is excited to collaborate with Todd County Fiscal Court, Todd County Schools and Novelis to serve the community.
The college provides classroom instruction and training opportunities on the campus.
"We have just looked at the partnership," Young said. "We've strengthened the partnership and the resources we bring to it to try to bring programs and training that's needed to the community."
Young said there is a renewed focus on having a mindset of growth on the campus, of encouraging students at the technology center to be willing to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
"(We want) to provide students with the strategies and information they need to learn and grow and be the best that they can be in the workforce and in the community," she added.
Young said the college will continue to offer welding and industrial maintenance technology with an emphasis on electrical technology for high school youth along with the new evening courses for adults.
Dr. Eric Keeling, the technology center's chief executive officer, noted that the center will expand its offerings to include other programs in addition to the welding and industrial maintenance technology.
He said 80 high school students, i.e., 40 in welding and 40 in industrial maintenance, will take part each day in the technology center's offerings while 20 adults will participate in evening programs.
Keeling said the adult programs will be offered more frequently, about every six weeks or so, and he said they will target the needs of Novelis and of HOPFAME, the latter being the local chapter of the Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education. That program partners regional manufacturers with HCC to train college graduates and create a pipeline of highly-skilled workers.
Keeling said industry partners, in addition to Novelis, will include Stupp Bridge Co., a steel fabricator in Bowling Green, H&H Sheet Metal Fabricators in Russellville and Clarksville, KIRIU USA Corp., a manufacturer of automotive brake rotors in Bowling Green, and Stryker Logistics, also in Bowling Green.
He noted that the technology center is a collaborative effort that will work to ensure the success, not only of its secondary students, but of the Todd County community as a whole. Keeling said the workforce needs of the southcentral and western regions of the state are alarming.
But he said the partnership between the fiscal court, the public school system and the community college on behalf of the center has rejuvenated change and will address employers' needs in the area.
"The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center will provide every opportunity for our students in Todd County and our adults to develop a career in manufacturing," Keeling told the crowd gathered for Monday's rebranding ceremony on the grounds of the technology center.
Banks noted that manufacturing is at a point where physical strength and size aren't everything; employees now need to be able to communicate effectively, solve problems and work with technology, he said, and the center in Todd County can equip people with the know-how and processes they need.
"I think with the renewed focus on advanced manufacturing and the alignment between HCC and this facility, it has brought this together at the right point," the Novelis manager said.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.