Livonia, Mich. — Sure, the donation of a 110-ton injection molding machine to an up-and-coming college program is a nice gesture. But for International Automotive Components Group, officials admit the move wasn't totally altruistic.
“The reality is, right now, there aren't enough students in the pipeline to satisfy the number of jobs there are [to work on] this type of machinery,” said David Ladd, senior director of marketing and communications for North America with IAC Group.
IAC Group, RheTech Inc., KraussMaffei Corp., Milacron Holdings Corp. and the Detroit chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers have all pumped money and equipment into Schoolcraft College's plastic technology program. The college will be offering courses aimed at students achieving an associate's degree in plastic technology this fall.
Robert Leadley, dean of occupational programs and economic development for Schoolcraft, said the equipment was key to allowing the college in suburban Detroit to begin to offer the two-year program.
Schoolcraft began offering a one credit class in 2013 in plastics technology, and it has since grown to a 16-credit certificate program. With the new equipment, the college is now offering a 32-credit certificate and associate's degree.
“This is really a shot in the arm for the program, and there are great things ahead,” Leadley said.
Sassan Tarahomi, who works at Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers Inc. and is an instructor at the college, said the students learn a lot about plastics in the classroom, but having the machine in the lab is critically important.