Energy production, engineering, and machine tools. Mechatronics, skilled trades, and welding programs. They all can be found in the new Hanson Technology Center that recently opened on the Lake Michigan College
Benton Harbor campus.
The center replaces the former M-Tec facility on Klock Road. College officials say they anticipate the new location will introduce more students to technology programs and inspire them to pursue careers in manufacturing.
"Manufacturing careers have evolved remarkably with advances in technology, but some people still have outdated ideas about the profession,” says Dean of Career and Workforce Education Dr. Ken Flowers. "We’ve created a beautiful, bright and modern space where all kinds of students can get excited about transforming ideas into reality. It will be a wellspring for invention and innovation. This is where the next generation of makers are made.”
Manufacturing provides an estimated 17,500 jobs and has a $2.1 billion impact on Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. A recent report by Kinexus found that area manufacturers are concerned about the lack of available applicants with technical skills.
At the ribbon cutting for the new tech center, Matt Tyler, president of Vickers Engineering, talked about the gap between the jobs available and the skills of those seeking jobs. "High-tech manufacturing is back," Vickers says. "But the problem is the workforce hasn’t caught up with that yet. This building will make an absolute difference.”
In manufacturing across southwest Michigan employees are paid, very well and many of his employees earn above $70,000 per year. “We’re not just creating jobs, we’re creating careers,” Vickers says.
Souce: Lake Michigan College