BY SARAH GREGORY
Nearly 50 professionals from local and area manufacturing industries gathered Thursday morning at the General Morgan Inn for breakfast and a look at new manufacturing skills assessment machines that will soon be offered by Walters State Community College (WSCC).
Walters State hosted the event.
The machines test workers' mechanical, electrical, programmable logic controller (PLC), and computer numerical controller (CNC) industrial skills.
The machines are developed by New Hampshire-based Scientific Management Techniques (SMT).
During assessments, workers are given a few minutes to inspect the machines hands-on.
Next, each individual is isolated while the assessment administrator replaces his choice of the machine's components with a faulty component that causes the machine to fail.
After the worker returns to the machine, he or she is timed and evaluated while he/she troubleshoots, identifies, isolates, and solves the problem to get the machine working again.
A score is then calculated based on the worker's performance, providing employers some insight as to a worker's true hands-on ability.
Stephen Berry, president of SMT, was in Greeneville to speak to the manufacturing professionals and describe his machines and the benefits of using them.
SMT's assessment machines, he told the crowd, "identify the problem" workers may have with their skill sets, while accompanying curriculum "solves the problem."
Berry said his company has been in business since 1970 and its machines are in use in more than 30 countries all over the globe.
SMT has started partnering with community colleges across the U.S. in what he described as a "win-win-win" situation.
"Manufacturers win by being able to secure high-quality hires," he said.
"Schools win for being innovative" with their curriculum and its application, and "students win by having a great skill set and being put on a career path," Berry said.
Dr. Anita Ricker, assistant dean for community education at WSCC, said the school's goal is to improve manufacturing employment and performance in East Tennessee by alleviating the shortage of skilled industrial workers.
LOCAL INDUSTRIES PRESENT
A number of representatives from Greene County industries attended the presentation.
Participants at the event included representatives from John Deere Power Products, Angus-Palm, BTL Industries, C-E Minerals, DTR, Oldcastle Building Envelope, Valk Industries, Minco, HUF, LMR Plastics, American Greetings, and the Greeneville Light & Power System.
"We had a really good representation, with many from other counties as well," Ricker said, adding that she was pleased with the event's turnout.