UTICA – The Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) offers a wide range of services for manufacturing businesses in the Mohawk Valley’s sixth district as a New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) agency.
“We are one of 11 MEP agencies in New York State,” says AIM Director Cory Albrecht. The school serves Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, and Schoharie counties as a hub for manufacturing and technology. “Our goal is to support small and medium manufacturing in the Mohawk Valley region, helping them grow their business and increase profits,” he said.
Some of the topics AIM programs cover to help those businesses include lean manufacturing, six sigma, cybersecurity, risk assessment and training, and quality control systems, to name a few.
“We have a comprehensive program for managers and middle managers,” says Albrecht.
AIM also offers a wide range of vocational training in areas such as welding, CNC machining, electrical engineering, and HVAC in conjunction with MVCC. As the only MEP at a community college, AIM can access college-side credit programs and bring that training to the developer’s door, Albrecht said. Along the way, AIM helped companies like Oriskany Manufacturing and Bartell Machinery Systems, both of which needed qualified welders.
Businesses are struggling because trained workers are no longer available, Albrecht said. “These companies are being forced to change the way they think and change the way they develop the workforce.” Working with AIM is one way companies can get the trained workers they need to fill those jobs, he says.
Although AIM offers a mix of programs, Albrecht said the company strives to provide companies with what they need. “Every business we go into, they’re asking us for staff,” he says, so staff development remains the biggest part of the program.
In that regard, AIM works closely with school districts in the region to promote employment and productivity. Locally, that may include work with Wolfspeed, Danfoss, and Indium Corporation.
AIM has organized trips for high school counselors, principals, and even administrators to visit the facilities and learn first-hand what the job is like.
“We have to give them knowledge and create awareness of what the Mohawk Valley region needs,” Albrecht says.
AIM recently visited the Rome Free Academy with FuzeHub and Project Expertise to give a user presentation to more than 100 technology students. AIM also provided the school with a virtual reality (VR) headset and a non-profit license for the research program. job. Albrecht says AIM could make a video about what it’s like to work at a manufacturing company like Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. and FX Matt Brewing Co. Students can explore welder, machinist, quality engineer, and other jobs with VR headsets.
It’s about providing information and breaking down barriers that can prevent people from pursuing a career in manufacturing, Albrecht said. He says that for many people, the concept of creative work can be very different from the reality. Instead of being a low-paid job in a dirty factory, the reality is very different in many areas of manufacturing today. “You wouldn’t believe what some of these creative projects are paying for,” he says.
New York state currently has more than 9,500 manufacturing jobs posted on Indeed.com, Albrecht says, and the average annual manufacturing salary in the state is $80,394.
Although AIM can help almost any manufacturing business, it specializes in microelectronics and semiconductors, food and beverage, metal and wood, and distribution.