Michigan-based Reed City Group LLC injected some in-house training into its process technician ranks thanks to a program offered by Ferris State University.
The Big Rapids, Mich.-based school has a professional development department that acts as a liaison with industry.
RCG is an injection molder serving automotive, consumer goods, medical and other customers. The company is based in rural Reed City, about three hours northwest of Detroit.
RCG turned to Ferris State for custom training after it received a $58,375 state grant.
Ferris State sent Stephen Wolfer, a professor of 27 years, to meet with the company's production and human resources managers.
"They had a good feel for what they needed, which helped tremendously," Wolfer said in a phone interview. "We developed an outline and delivered it."
Founded in 1959 as Reed City Tool & Die, the business changed its name to Reed City Group a year ago to reflect growth in 3D printing and automation from the company's roots in mold building, press making and injection molding. The name change coincided with the purchase of the company by two investment firms, Argosy Private Equity and Stone River Capital Partners.
The focus of RCG's latest training program was basic injection molding technology on "native" equipment with lessons about safety, materials, molds, injection molding machine components, clamping systems, actuators, position indicators, molding cycles and defect identification.
"This was a customized course that included our employees working directly on our own equipment at our facility," Tracie Ruppert, human resources manager, said. "Reed City Group wanted to drive personal skills and growth, increase troubleshooting experience and increase knowledge of process and materials."
RCG partnered with the state of Michigan to obtain the grant, which covered most of the classes. RCG picked up the remaining cost and paid the employees while they attended training.
"One of our main initiatives here at RCG is to develop our people," Ruppert said. "These courses have helped ensure that we are continuing to invest in our employees and their future at RCG. With a low employee pool for hiring, it's important to grow your employees and invest in them to ensure they are fulfilled and want to continue their employment."