With a major plastics machinery manufacturer moving into a small Vermont town, state leaders are developing a plastics program at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, Vt.
Vermont Tech is the only technical college in Vermont. The state has 2,600 plastics jobs, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. report ``Contribution of Plastics to the U.S. Economy.''
``We're developing a two-year associate's degree in plastics technology. Hopefully we'll have it ready by the fall of '98,'' said Vermont Tech President Robert Clarke.
``We will be designing a specific plastics program to train students and introduce them into core competencies of specific proficiencies in the plastics industry,'' Clarke said.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. will help design the program. Husky is getting lots of press in Vermont since it announced a new facility in Milton. But Clarke said other Vermont-based plastics firms also will develop the curriculum, including custom injection molders Mack Molding Co. of Arlington, and GW Plastics Inc. in Bethel.
According to Washington-based SPI, Vermont's 34 plastics facilities paid wages of $78 million and shipped $421 million worth of goods in 1994. Nearly half of the plastics jobs are in the category of molded products.
As a small state, Vermont can move quickly to target education to major employers, Clarke said. IBM has a large semiconductor plant in Burlington. Vermont Tech developed an associate's degree just for IBM employees. IBM took it a step further, and now Vermont Tech handles all of IBM's training in Vermont.