ASHLAND – Opportunities abound for people who are willing to work, and the hard-working students of the Ashland County West Holmes Career Center’s RAMTEC program are entering productive careers.
RAMTEC stands for Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative. Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Instructor Jim Simmering explained how the program works for students who are willing to do the work.
The ACWHCC RAMTEC program offers 65 welding qualification certifications, along with robotics and other certifications, as well as fluid power, electrical and manual machining.
“After two years in the program, students have such a wide range of learning and so many different paths they can take,” Simmering said. “We get calls weekly from employers looking for student workers. You can’t drive far without seeing signs of hiring companies. They can go into tool and die, electrical maintenance, computer numerical control (CNC) planner/operator.”
Simmering graduated from a vocational program in high school and credits his diversified background for his ability to impart his wisdom to his students. More than a dozen RAMTEC alumni and current students are working at numerous manufacturers in the Ashland, Wayne and Holmes county areas.
Schaeffler in Wooster, other companies have apprenticeship programs
Many companies offer education and training beyond college.
Brett Carnegie is a junior at the Career Center who works as an apprentice at Schaeffler in Wooster. He hopes to follow the program through which he can earn a master’s degree in engineering.
“I met a couple of people from Loudonville who went through this program who liked it. I came here for a couple of tours, open houses and things like that, and I really liked the atmosphere,” Carnegie said. “I really liked the CNC machines and all the robotics. That got me interested.
“I have an apprenticeship at Schaeffler and hopefully this summer I’ll get more familiar with the CNC stuff I’ve learned here, so I’ll be later,” he added. “Everything I’m learning here between welding and all the different machines is giving me a great opportunity at Schaeffler.”
Simmering noted that Carnegie will earn up to 14 college credits through his training in the RAMTEC program.
“Some students come out with 1,000 hours or so for their 8,000-hour learning,” he said. “In fact, they start full time when they graduate.”
Schaeffler Tool and Die Apprenticeship Instructor a program product
Tommy Guidetti, tool and die apprenticeship instructor at Schaeffler, is a product of the Career Center program and sees great value in developing relationships between the two.
“We pulled students out of the Ashland County and Wayne County RAMTEC programs,” Guidetti said. “We have five different apprenticeship programs. It’s not just machinists coming out of RAMTEC, we have the CNC planner apprenticeship to optimize production lines and the mechanical and electrical maintenance programs. These deal more with robotic programming. The program RAMTEC covers four of our five programs right there.”
Guidetti explained that Schaeffler has had a strong presence at the Wayne County Career Center for the last 20 years or so. he working with the engineering programs, the machinist programs, as well as the line technology and agricultural mechanics and electronics programs.
“We’ve always had a really good presence, and when Wayne County added the RAMTEC program, we were one of the companies that reached out and said this is what we’re looking for in the industry, and if you can provide us with students, we can hire them right now,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity. I started right at the Career Center like a lot of these kids, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the apprenticeship programs.
“Our biggest shining stars are the graduates of these RAMTEC programs,” Guidetti added. “Every time race centers ask me if I want to come in and talk, I can’t get there fast enough.”
Guidetti said he and Simmering are going to start holding signing days for students entering apprenticeship programs because they feel participating in an apprenticeship is as important as getting a scholarship to college.
“We’re setting these young men up for absolute success,” Guidetti said. “I have 20-year-old men and women in our program who are buying homes, have new cars, savings accounts, and no student debt. They are preparing their lives five, six years before college.” graduating would.”
Colin Hillman is a junior in the RAMTEC program. He said that he enjoys the hands-on learning aspect of the program. He hopes to go to work in the family business, a CNC machine shop that his grandfather opened 30 years ago.
“It’s hard to learn this trade from a book,” he said. “The physical aspect of working on a project, seeing the process step by step and the progression as we go.”
Students enjoy working through the process each day and seeing their projects through to completion.
Simmering added that RAMTEC and other career center programs begin recruiting students as early as sixth grade, hosting various introductory events to get kids in and show them what’s available at ACWHCC.
“We plant the seed early in sixth grade, and we bring it back in eighth grade and again in ninth and 10th,” Simmering said. “Students from our programs come in and show what they’ve learned and help spark interest.”
The instructor pointed out that the high cost of college can be offset by learning a trade and having that as an alternative option. There is not necessarily a job for every degree obtained out of college.