HCC Advanced Manufacturing Conference highlights training and education

 In Education
The latest trends, outlook and future in advanced manufacturing were only some of the topics of discussion at Houston Community College‘s (HCC) first Gulf Coast Advanced Manufacturing Conference. More than 200 people attended the conference October 6 at the Stafford Center.

Dr. Cesar Maldonado, HCC Chancellor, welcomed business leaders, public officials, and educators to the conference. Maldonado stressed the crucial role that community colleges play in training the advanced manufacturing workforce in Houston, one of the top manufacturing cities in the country.

“We pride ourselves in leading the way in advanced manufacturing education and training,” Maldonado said. “Our Stafford Workforce Center is second to none in providing students the tools they need to succeed in advanced manufacturing.” Dr. Madeline Burillo-Hopkins, President of HCC Southwest College, emphasized the importance of advanced manufacturing education in the 21st century global economy. “Our collective work will strengthen the long history of economic growth in this area,” Burillo-Hopkins remarked, “The doors that are opened to students today will define the decision-makers of tomorrow.”

The event offered the insights of expert panelists on economic outlook, automation, additive manufacturing/3D printing and workforce education. One of the major points during the discussions was the need for a qualified skilled workforce. That was a message resonated with Kody Snead, a Sealy High School senior who attended the conference with a group of his peers.

“I was exposed to 3D printers in middle school. Now, knowing that this technology is so closely tied into advanced manufacturing makes me want to explore the option of entering this field,” Kody said.

Katherine McMellan, one of the panelists representing the National Association of Manufacturers, emphasized that community colleges like HCC are well positioned to offer education consistent with the needs of industry.

“Advanced manufacturing programs need to lead to jobs and community colleges like HCC continue to prove that they are the most adaptable in the short and long term to educate future professionals,” added McMellan.

Keynote speaker Tony Bennett, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Manufacturers, encouraged industry leaders to collaborate with organizations to convince students as young as middle school to enter one of the professions with the lowest turnover rates.

“How do we align advanced manufacturing organizations to partner up with students starting in the 8th grade? Success is achieved through collaboration. To continue being leaders, we must take the long-term view,“ said Bennett.

The conference culminated with a tour and demonstration of classrooms and equipment at the HCC Workforce building in Stafford, Texas.

To learn more about the HCC Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, visit: www.hccs.edu/manufacturing.

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