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AdvanceSC Grant Enables Establishment of Fluid Power Center of Excellence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/17/2007
CONTACT: JOHN BENSON, 646-1717
PENDLETON --- A $250,000 grant from AdvanceSC will enable Tri-County Technical College to establish a Center of Excellence where Upstate maintenance technicians can be trained on the most up-to-date fluid power equipment.
This Fluid Power Center of Excellence (COE) will be operational by fall of 2008 and its goal is to provide a continuing supply of skilled maintenance technicians to fill critical vacancies in regional industries, said John Benson, director of Tri-County’s World Class Training Center.
The four Upstate technical colleges (Tri-County, Greenville, Piedmont and Spartanburg) formed the Upstate Alliance for Technical Training (UATT) in 2006 with a grant from AdvanceSC. The UATT is a group of educators, teaching in both curriculum and Corporate & Community Education, who are working to maximize resources by standardizing the industrial maintenance curricula across the Upstate.
Industrial Maintenance Technology graduates must possess four core skills: basic electronics systems, mechanical power systems, heating and cooling systems and fluid power systems, said Benson. “Fluid power systems, or hydraulics and pneumatics, is the area we chose to concentrate on because hydraulics and pneumatics are in almost every manufacturing facility in the Upstate,” he said. “An in-depth knowledge of fluid power systems is a critical building block in the education/training of industrial maintenance technicians. Improving the diagnostic and repair proficiency of current and future maintenance technicians in these essential systems will reduce downtime, increase efficiency, reduce production costs and increase the quality of products produced,” said Benson.
The Fluid Power Center of Excellence will support the UATT by becoming subject matter experts in fluid power systems. The COE will develop and share curriculum content and training equipment criteria and provide instructor training for other colleges, he said.
“Our intent is to develop the curricula and make it available to other colleges in the Upstate Alliance. They may choose another core skill and take the lead in developing that curriculum, and we could take advantage of that. It’s a collaborative effort,” Benson said.
Tri-County will purchase eight combination hydraulic/pneumatic workstations with electronic controllers, which will be available for both credit and non-credit training. “Each workstation will be transportable, giving us the capability to conduct training off site at manufacturing plants or at the College’s new locations,” he said. Annually 20 credit students and 30 non-credit students will benefit from this standardized fluid power curriculum and will have access to this sophisticated training equipment.
In addition to the nine workstations, the grant will fund 40 WorkKeys maintenance-related job profiles for area industries. WorkKeys is a nationally recognized method of studying jobs and determining what basic skills are needed to operate the jobs. The WorkKeys system helps businesses and industry to cut the cost of selecting and retaining employees with the basic skills necessary to be successful on the job.Previously a grant from AdvanceSC allowed Tri-County to establish the Institute for Manufacturing Competitiveness (IMC) to provide local manufacturers with access to the training and information they need to retain or regain their competitive advantage. The IMC Advisory Committee will guide the curriculum content for the Center of Excellence.