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Local teachers participate in advanced manufacturing internships


Conor Dailey (left), training coordinator at Cataler,and Lincoln County School of Technology teacher Jeff Hayton at Cataler

The Industrial Managers Association of Lincoln County is sponsoring a program that will send Career and Technical Education teachers from five local schools for a weeklong internship at various manufacturing industries in the area.

Jeremy Detter of North Lincoln Middle School and Robbie Reep of North Lincoln High School will be at Aptar this week, while Jeff Hayton of the Lincoln County School of Technology will be job shadowing at Cataler. Michael Rhodes of West Lincoln High School and David Richardson of West Lincoln Middle School will be at Kaco USA and Timken in July.

Dr. Cale Sain, Career and Technical Education director for Lincoln County Schools, sat down with Kara Brown of the Lincoln Economic Development Association several months ago with a goal of educating students, parents and teachers about what the 21st century advanced manufacturing industry looks like. The program was designed to help educators learn about what local industries do so that they can then communicate that in the classroom and share more potential career choices with students.

“We want our teachers to immerse themselves in one of the industries and really see what it all looks like,” Sain said. “What is the potential for future employees? What is the potential for students that we teach to end up having a job locally, staying in Lincoln County and contributing?”

Cataler is a company that makes catalytic converters for the automotive industry. Beverly Gilbert, Cataler’s representative for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, is a former teacher who understands the importance of a program of this nature for both sides.

“The teachers will have a better understanding of what is expected in the industry,” Gilbert said. “We expect teachers to know the details of what goes on in manufacturing and they may or may not have ever actually worked there. This will give them a better understanding of what a person walking in would need to know, would experience and what they would come in contact with.”

Hayton, the intern at Cataler, will start by undergoing the same orientation on safety and basic environmental information as any person who enters the building. During his first three days he will shadow in each of the three major production lines, spending a day in each area observing a supervisor or team leader. The last two days of the internship will be spent in the engineering and maintenance departments. Hayton will get a look at about 95 percent of the plant, according to Gilbert.

The concern is that many students in today’s age have a very outdated view of the manufacturing industry and are generally unaware of the upper level job opportunities that exist within these organizations.

“They don’t expect to see some of the high-tech machinery we have and we hope that they would realize it is a very innovative industry,” Gilbert said. “We would also like them to realize that it’s not just limited to the entry-level positions. We have a lot of maintenance and engineers and we have a program that will pay for them to go back to school if they want to go into those areas.”

These internships are part of the advanced manufacturing program established by the Lincoln County School system along with the Lincoln Economic Development Association.