Gateway Unveils New Center For Advanced Manufacturing At Boone Campus

The future of manufacturing education has arrived at Gateway Community and Technical College. Northern Kentuckys only publicly supported, comprehensive, two-year community and technical college, Gateway today unveiled its new $28.5 million Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

The CAM, as we call it, will redefine manufacturing education in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati/ Southeast Indiana region, said G. Edward Hughes, Gateway president/CEO.

About 250 business, government and community leaders streamed into the sparkling new facility at the colleges Boone Campus to see firsthand the 12,000-square-foot integrated manufacturing center, electrical, industrial maintenance, welding and science labs and other high-tech equipment used to prepare students for the advanced manufacturing jobs of the 21st century.

A thoroughly prepared, well-trained workforce is the most important incentive we can offer businesses interested in locating or expanding in the Commonwealth, said Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Joseph U. Meyer, who spoke at the dedication. With this new facility, Im pleased that Gateway continues to recognize the critical role that community colleges play and the importance of investing in Kentuckys future.
Dr. Michael B. McCall, president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System of which Gateway is a part, noted the impact the center will have on the future of the Commonwealth.

At KCTCS, we will continue to provide Kentuckians with a pathway to good jobs and higher wages, and we can ensure the future of Kentuckys children will be brighter and more prosperous than ever before through the possibilities created by the high-wage jobs in high-growth industries, Dr. McCall said. The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is a shining example of the possibilities that can become reality when a college, community and state work together to improve the employability and quality of life of Kentucky citizens.

Gateway began meeting with industry leaders, community and economic development officials as early as 2001 to create a wish list for manufacturing education in the region. Based on this input, Gateway and the business community endorsed a plan for a high-tech educational facility designed specifically to provide workers with advanced manufacturing skills.

At the time, more than 600 manufacturing jobs were unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants, and a local study revealed another 3,600 advanced manufacturing jobs would become available as a result of a wave of retirements between 2005 and 2015, said Dr. Hughes. While hiring in the manufacturing sector has witnessed some recent increases, the regions need for a highly trained workforce remains critical.
With $28.5 million in funding from the Kentucky General Assembly, the college began construction of the 103,000-square-foot CAM facility in 2007. Crews put the finishing touches on the building this past summer, and the CAM opened for classes in August.

The building includes 16 general classrooms, a teaching and learning center, library and information resource center, and on-site services for admissions, financial aid and disability services.

The center also contains an array of services to support the business community as well as students. An Assessment Center offers more than 10,000 tests a year for professional licensing and certification, as well as high-stakes tests such as the Graduate Record Exam, the Law School Admissions Test, the ethics portion of the bar exam, and many others. A new Career/Transfer Center helps students explore careers, determine the major that best suits their interests and abilities, and helps them plan to transfer to a four-year university after completing an associate degree at Gateway.

But the heart of the CAM is the Integrated Manufacturing Center. Ringed by five SMART classrooms for lecture purposes, the IMC contains pneumatic, electrical, and robotic workstations that allow students to learn and apply skills needed to operate today's advanced manufacturing facilities. A mechatronics training station enables students to learn how mechanics, electronics and computing are applied in a manufacturing setting to generate simpler, more economical and reliable systems.

Just down the hall is an advanced welding lab that offers training in the most innovative, cost-effective, quality welding and cutting solutions. Through a partnership with Lincoln Electric, students have access to a virtual welder that uses virtual reality to provide realistic, hands-on training experience.
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is part of the toolbox that will help us ensure that advanced manufacturing remains a viable, strong and growing segment in Northern Kentucky and the entire Tri-State region, Dr. Hughes added. We feel privileged to be part of the community effort that made this resource a reality.