FACE TIME – Michael Lanser on strong technical education

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 :: Face Time
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Photograph by Shane Van Boxtel/Image Studios, for Insight

Michael Lanser has been president of Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland for nine years, and in that time has seen the college build its partnerships with manufacturers and school districts to keep current on training and to stay ahead of changing technology. Lanser spoke with Associate Editor Nikki Kallio about how programming is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of industry.

We’re working on trying to strengthen the pipeline between the high schools and Lakeshore Technical College. We help companies arrange for high school students to tour manufacturing plants and then discuss with the manufacturers what their expectations are. We’re also working with schools on dual credit arrangements. For example, at Plymouth High School we recently opened the Plymouth Science and Tech Center, which was highlighted at the NEW Manufacturing Alliance awards banquet (in September). Students come to LTC with credits already earned towards specific careers in manufacturing. We’re looking at dividing our programs in segments where students can gain the skills they need for initial employment, and then complete their training here.

The youth apprenticeship program is a collaboration between the student and a mentor which comes from the local manufacturing organization and LTC. The student commits time in classes here, but also works on the job with that mentor. In another apprenticeship program, we work in collaboration with the Department of Workforce Development.

Each one of our programs has an advisory committee made up of local employers who provide feedback on the curriculum, on the equipment, and on where they see their needs coming from. Our involvement with the local economic development organizations keeps us up to speed.

We need to expand our capacity for machine tool operation and welding. We’re looking at a project that will almost double the capacity that we have for machine tool and CNC operation. We’re also adding a new welding fabrication program – that’s really a step beyond the current welding program that we have, and both of those are going to require some additional space, so we’re putting our plans together to increase that capacity.

Our wind technology program is part of our Energy Education Center, where we offer courses in wind technology and nuclear technology – we’re the only college in this state that offers both of those programs. We’ve been expanding our outdoor wind lab. We have our four functioning wind turbines and we have a large 1.5 megawatt GE turbine on the ground. We train people in maintenance in confined space, and it really expands beyond training of wind techs – we train in climbing and rescue, all aspects of that field. We’re working closely with GE wind and Snap-On industrial. In the nuclear program, we train people to work for Dominion and Florida Power and Light for these nuclear plants here. When you look at the projections in the nuclear industry, it equals that of manufacturing as far as the vacancies and job demand.

This area is also a major manufacturing area for food service equipment, with Manitowoc Food Service, and also Vollrath Co. and Polar Ware Stoelting. You have food manufacturers such as Sargento, Johnsonville, Sartori and Masters Gallery. We opened the culinary program in the middle of May. When we look at the Sheboygan and Manitowoc area, with its world-class restaurants and resorts, it’s just natural that we now provide the education that is needed by the local restaurants and resorts in this area, using the fantastic equipment that’s manufactured here locally.

We are working with our local manufacturers and schools so that people know that these are viable, well-paying careers in the manufacturing area. It’s about working collaboratively to make people aware of just how good a life they can have by pursuing their career in manufacturing.