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December 16, 2013

BENTON HARBOR, MI – An aging workforce, lack of interest among younger workers, and changing technology are creating a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers in Michigan. According to a new economic forecast released last month by the University of Michigan, in the next two years the state will see an additional 17,000 manufacturing jobs. Renewed growth in the industry is why Lake Michigan College continues to advance its educational programs to fill the needs of area manufacturers.

One part of LMC’s Machine Tool Technology program is an online training program called Tooling U that trains specifically to the daily job functions of skilled workers through multimedia, key manufacturing content, and assessment exams for students. LMC has recently earned recognition by Tooling U as a Platinum Education Center, an honor reserved for educational programs that embrace technology and are active in developing manufacturers for today and tomorrow.

The program demonstrates the “flipped classroom approach,” where students view the lectures and take quizzes and tests online, according to LMC Director of Workforce Development Ken Flowers.

“This approach benefits both students and employers,” Flowers stated. “The students have more time for the hands-on lab work as they further their skills.”

LMC’s partnership with Tooling U provides students with the opportunity to supplement their education with advanced online training tools. Tooling U's pre- and post-exams help identify learning disparities to teachers through online reports. The more than 400 online classes in subjects like abrasives, metal cutting, welding, and others allow students to learn at their own pace while giving instructors extra time to teach in the classroom. Following the adoption of Tooling U-SME educational programs, educational institutions noted an average 16 to 18 percent increase in post-exam testing.

LMC is helping area high schools integrate Tooling U into their programs, as well. At Brandywine High School, students can take courses through the College’s direct credit one-plus-one Manufacturing Academy.

Other programs honored this year by Tooling U are Southern Maine Community College in Portland, Maine, and Ozark Technical College in Springfield, Missouri.

Enrollment is going on now for Spring semester classes in advanced manufacturing and other programs. See www.lakemichigancollege.edu or call (269) 927-8626 for registration and enrollment information. For more information about the advanced manufacturing program, contact Ken Flowers at (269) 927-4103 or flowers@lakemichigancollege.edu.

About Tooling U:
Tooling U delivers versatile learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community. More than 210,000 individuals and 5,000 companies and educational institutions use Tooling-U’s online learning and assessment programs and other training options to address workforce needs. Tooling U is a division of SME, a 501(c)3 organization that has been gathering, validating and sharing manufacturing knowledge for more than 80 years.

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