It's back to school time for students across the country, including those at Auburn Career Center.
Auburn is a vocational school for high school students located in Concord Township, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Cleveland. The school has almost 30 students in manufacturing programs.
Students complete internships in their second year in the program. Local plastics firms Mar-Bal Inc. of Chagrin Falls and Mercury Plastics of Middlefield offer internships to Auburn students.
For the 2022-23 school year, Auburn has added a certified production technician program. Staff member Michelle Rodewald described that program as "a fast-track class into entry level manufacturing." The class certifies student in safety, maintenance awareness, quality practices and measurement and production.
Auburn also has added John Schein as a manufacturing instructor. He has more than 40 years of manufacturing experience with beverage packaging maker Bevcorp LLC in Eastlake, Ohio.
Four adult students are enrolled in a machining and CNC (computer numerically controlled) course at Auburn. The school is trying to boost enrollment in that program by offering free tuition.
Also for 2022-23, Auburn has redesigned its production and welding lab with the help of local businesses. Rodewald said the school "stripped the entire space" and added new equipment, including a new horizontal and vertical band saw, two new welding booths, two grinders, two belt sanders, a metal shear, a mini HAAS CNC Mill and a sandblaster. Almost 30 students are enrolled in welding.
In the machining lab, Auburn will modernize its manual mills and upgrading its older CNC mills and manual lathes with grant funding through the Alliance for Working Together (AWT).
To draw older students, Auburn now is offering free "sprint classes" to high school seniors and graduates in welding, Fanuc robotics and machining. Rodewald described these after-school, 40-hour programs as "quick get your feet wet classes."
Auburn serves 11 area school districts. In 2020, Mar-Bal, a thermoset molder and materials maker, began a Certified Production Tech program with Auburn through three local school districts. Last year, the school received donations of industrial equipment from Solon-based manufacturing firm Swagelok Co. Swagelok has hired more than 20 Auburn students.
Auburn has more than 700 students in total. They spend a half-day at Auburn and the rest of the day at their home schools. The manufacturing program provides training that students can use in a variety of industrial jobs.
Tool and die training given at Auburn can apply to plastics technologies such as injection molding and extrusion. The school's manufacturing lab has six CNC machines and 20 CNC simulators, where students can learn CAD/CAM technology. In addition to manufacturing, Auburn has programs ranging from automotive technology to health care and emergency medical services.