UTICA — The Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) is offering a service to businesses within the six-county Mohawk Valley region as a New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center.
“We are one of 11 MEP centers located in New York state,” says AIM Director Cory Albrecht. The institute serves Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, and Schoharie counties as a central access point for manufacturing and technology support. “Our mission is to support small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Mohawk Valley region by helping them grow their business and become more profitable,” he notes.
Some of the topics AIM’s programming covers to help businesses include lean manufacturing, six sigma, cybersecurity, risk assessment and training, and quality management systems, to name a few.
“We have a fairly comprehensive program for mid-level managers and supervisors,” Albrecht contends.
AIM also offers a lot of technical training in areas like welding, CNC machining, mechanical, electrical and HVAC combined at MVCC. Since the only MEP is located at a community college, AIM can access the college’s credit programming on the side, and bring this training right to the workplace’s doorstep, Albrecht notes. In this way, AIM has helped companies like Oriskany Manufacturing and Bartell Machinery Systems, both of which need qualified welders.
Businesses are struggling because that trained workforce no longer exists, Albrecht says. “These companies are forced to really change the way they think and change the approach to workforce development.” Working with AIM is a way companies can train the workers they need to fill those roles, he says.
While AIM continues to offer a mix of programming, Albrecht says the institute is working hard to provide companies with what they need. “Every business we go into, the workers are asking us,” he says, so workforce development remains a dominant area of programming.
In this regard, AIM collaborates closely with school districts in the region to promote business in manufacturing. Instead, that may include jobs at Wolfspeed, Danfoss, and Indium Corporation.
AIM has arranged local trips for advisors, principals, and even superintendents to visit those companies and learn first-hand the types of services that are available.
“We need to give them the knowledge and understanding of what the Mohawk Valley region needs,” Albrecht says.
AIM also recently visited Rome Free Academy with FuzeHub and Project Expertise to present to more than 100 technology students for the workforce. AIM also gifted the school with virtual reality (VR) capital and free software licenses for the exploration course. Albrecht says AIM can make videos about what it’s like to work at local companies like Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. and FX Matt Brewing Co. Students can explore welder, machinist, quality engineer and other jobs with VR headsets.
It’s about educating and also breaking down barriers that prevent people from working in manufacturing jobs, says Albrecht. For many, the apprehension of job creation is likely to be a significant departure from reality, he notes. Rather than a low-paying job in a dirty factory, the situation is very different in many manufacturing positions today. “You won’t believe that some of these advanced manufacturers are working,” he said.
New York state currently has more than 9,500 manufacturing jobs on Imo.com, Albrecht said, and average annual manufacturing sales in the state are $80,394.
While AIM can help with almost any business, it specializes in microelectronics and semiconductors, food and beverage, metal and wood, and distribution.