Northeast Tech, MidAmerica partner to open Industrial Maintenance Training Lab

Northeast Tech and MidAmerica Industrial Park are teaming up to offer more training opportunities to the businesses in the park and surrounding area. Industrial Maintenance courses are nothing new to the training staff at Northeast Tech, but there has recently been an increase in demand for this type of training, both regionally and nationally. To help meet this need locally, MidAmerica, which owns the Sanders Mitchell Training Center (currently housing OSUIT in the park), donated use of the training space to Northeast Tech. Despite OSUIT’s upcoming departure from the park, MidAmerica wanted to see the facility continue to be utilized by local industries for training. So as part of the partnership, Northeast Tech is providing equipment, curriculum and faculty and MidAmerica Industrial Park is providing space for the program and assisting with procuring additional equipment to support the program.

“Industrial Maintenance is a common thread that cuts across just about every company in the park regardless of the product they produce or the service they provide,” said MidAmerica’s Director of Workforce Development Scott Fry. “Manufacturing, processing, energy, data storage - just about every industry sector has a need for these types of skilled workers.”

“As OSU-IT transitions out of the park there is a need for Northeast Tech to step in and fill the gap left in Industrial Maintenance Training,” said Business and Industry Services Director Liberty Shere. “Even though it is a set of classes we have been teaching for a while, we have been forced to limit the number of students we could serve do to a lack of adequate classroom and equipment storage space.”

The new, convenient location greatly expands the lab space that was previously being used and will allow Northeast Tech's BIS team to leave all the training equipment set up. Northeast Tech expects that having access to the larger space in MidAmerica will not only provide an opportunity for bigger class sizes and an increase in training, but it will allow trainers the ability to conduct multiple trainings on different topics simultaneously.

“The previous space had to be set up and torn down between different classes, so this is a great improvement for both instructors and students,” said Industrial Coordinator Jerad Girten.

In addition to ample space for all the training equipment, the new space meets necessary power requirements, is heated and cooled, has in-shop bathrooms, classroom and office space, as well as lots of storage. The new space also lends itself to expansion opportunities.

“Now that we have the additional space, we are already making plans to improve the equipment in the lab,” said Shere. “We will soon be adding $65,000 worth of additional pieces of training equipment for courses that we already teach, as well as HVAC/Thermal equipment to expand the list of courses we provide. MidAmerica is also planning to purchase additional equipment for even more opportunities.”

As local industrial manufacturing companies recognize that much of their workforce skilled in Industrial Maintenance is eligible to retire, the need for this type of training will continue to increase. Northeast Tech can provide custom training to specific companies or training to individuals through its Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship program and other open enrollment opportunities.

This is a truly business-driven program built by employers and subject matter experts. An advisory committee comprised of professionals who work in this area from companies in MidAmerica helped design the curriculum, decide best times to offer the programs and will ultimately provide support for the program by sending their employees for training. 

“This new and larger location really provides a one-stop shop for the industrial park and is a win-win for all parties involved,” said Girten. “It lets Northeast Tech build our capacity for training and expand the list of courses we can offer. It helps MidAmerica keep and attract industries because of the fact that this high-quality training is available in a convenient location.”

“The goal of this partnership is two-fold really,” said Fry. “One is to provide employers with well-trained workers who can have a direct impact on a company’s effectiveness and efficiency by reducing downtime and improving overall operations. And two, the program will also provide opportunities to individuals looking to advance their careers. Industrial Maintenance is typically one of the highest paying positions within these facilities and can provide a great paying career.”

Northeast Tech is now working to get the program registered as a recognized DOL Apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships are a new movement in the state, and across the country, to provide work-based learning opportunities. This program will allow the students to work while they attend the program, so it is an earn-while-you-learn model. This is a great model as students get relevant experience coupled with classroom learning and employers have the ability to train the students on their specific operations.

For more information on available opportunities, or to schedule a training for your employees, contact Jerad Girten at (918) 476-8252.