The manufacturing sector is an evolving industry that requires companies to maintain a competitive workforce skilled in the latest technology.

“That’s where the jobs are, that’s what the industry needs and that’s who they’re going to hire,” says Dave Guinn, an advanced manufacturing technology coordinator at Warren County Career Center.

After consulting with several area manufacturers and trade companies, the school has revamped its program to meet industry standards for the 2014-2015 school year. With the help of federal grants, the career center has invested roughly $400,000 in an advanced manufacturing lab for its high school and adult students. The lab will include computer-operated hydraulic systems, gears, lathes, robotics equipment and other hi-tech equipment.

“Some people look at manufacturing as just a dirty factory job, but it’s more like a laboratory setting,” says Guinn.

With the insight from local companies like ADVICS Manufacturing Ohio, Inc., Furco Tech Corporation and several other leading area manufacturers, the career center has created a program that gets a high percentage of students hired after graduation.

“They’re career-ready when they leave here, but they also have the skills and knowledge to further their education,” says Maggie Hess, superintendent at Warren County Career Center.

With job placement rates at 90 percent, graduates can expect to earn $18 to $22 an hour following their certification. The need for skilled manufacturers won’t diminish anytime soon either. According to a 2011 study by the Manufacturing Institute, there are about 600,000 manufacturing positions unfilled throughout the United States. As older tradesman exit the workforce, the need for skilled technicians will remain.

“Folks are going to retire and there are going to be some really great opportunities to earn a livable wage,” says Hess. “They’re also going to have opportunities to further their careers because all those programs connect with community colleges.”

Along with skilled manufacturing, the lab will also offer technology that supports students studying to be technicians in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or AWS-certified in welding.

“Right now, we can’t meet the employer’s demands,” says Guinn, who’s been at the career center for nine years. He previously taught fire science before making the transition to advanced manufacturing. It’s a field with which he’s well-acquainted.

For 30 years, Guinn was a maintenance technician at General Motors in Dayton where learning the latest in machinery and technology was par for the course. He expects his students to carry the same mentality into the workforce.

“Everything new that came around, we had to learn,” says Guinn. “Whatever industry you’re in, you have to be well-schooled in technology as it’s constantly changing.”

For more information about advanced manufacturing classes, contact the Warren County Career Center at 513-932-5677, or visit mywccc.org.