The Halton District School Board will fully launch in September 2016 a new Advanced Manufacturing Program.
THROUGH A UNIQUE partnership with steel company ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton, the Halton District School Board will fully launch a new Advanced Manufacturing Program in September 2016, designed to help students adapt to a changing workplace.
The program is aimed at encouraging students to consider employment in the skilled trades, and engineering and technology sectors.
Through this kind of program, ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the Halton District School Board are trying to help address the shortage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skilled employees at a time when so-called ‘baby boomers’ who possess those skills are retiring.
Specifically, the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Advanced Manufacturing Program will be aimed at Grade 10-12 students in the Halton, in which company experts will provide real-world examples for inclusion in the curriculum. The program will focus on Manufacturing Technology, Technological Design and Computer Technology along with other STEM-related subject in Math and Science etc. It will also have ties to the Mohawk College Dual credit in Advanced Manufacturing.
David Lewis, the Board’s Instructional Program Leader for Technological Education and Pathways, is excited about the program’s prospects, especially given the partnership with ArcelorMittal Dofasco. The program will be available at MMR in Burlington.
“This project further supports our work in changing the culture related to advanced manufacturing and demonstrating the value of all post-secondary destinations to help prepare our students for a changing workforce within our communities,” he said. “We strongly believe in the value of student engagement that encourages students to follow their passions by offering real world connections. These connections help to enable contextualized learning and real world understanding. Having ArcelorMittal Dofasco as a partner in this program helps us raise the profile and awareness while, at the same time, adding support through funding.”
According to recent statistics, Ontario is facing a shortage of employees in the trades, creating a serious skills gap, he explained.
“Labour market data demonstrates we need to prepare more students for employment in the skilled trades, engineering and technologies, while allowing them to explore career opportunities related to their interests and skills.”
MMR teacher David Hammel, who will help facilitate the program, said there is a future in manufacturing that requires many skill sets.
“While the computer is an important tool in the classroom, we will be focusing on how it can be used to assist in a student’s thinking process,” he said. “Students will quickly figure out that a computer is only as good as the ideas or information being imputed. Our focus will be to develop innovative creative thinkers who are able to access modern technological tools to create, innovate and problem solve.”
Grade 12 student, Jamie Hopkins, who is learning about robotics at MMR this year, plans to enrol in the new program.
“I love having the ability to first design and then see what is actually being built,” she said.
Katrina McFadden, Vice-president of Human Resources and corporate administration with ArcelorMittal Dofasco, said there will be opportunities for company staff members to speak to students. They will explain the future of manufacturing “and make them aware of what the industry is like” and how high-tech it has become.
“This program allows us to get into schools to work with students and engage them and get them excited about advanced manufacturing,” she said.
For more information about the Advanced Manufacturing Program, contact Dave Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christine German, Pathways Project Manager, at email@example.com.