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Media Members Experience What MEC Offers Up Close

June 14, 2021

Gene Keyes educating a group

Schoolcraft College invited a select group of media to learn more about the new Manufacturing & Engineering Center (MEC) and its role in preparing current students for in-demand jobs in a variety of careers. MEC also will be an important avenue to attract a new generation of students – as young as middle school – to high-tech learning.

Following remarks by Dr. Glenn Cerny, Schoolcraft College President, and Dr. Robert Leadley, Dean of Occupational Programs & Economic Development, media members learned about some of the programs offered through engaging, hands-on demonstrations.

This new 48,000 square-foot facility, strategically located near Livonia’s industrial corridor, more than doubles the previous space on the main campus and houses programs in:

  • Biomedical Engineering Technology
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Engineering Technology
  • Electronics
  • Manufacturing Technology/CNC (Computer Numerical Control)
  • Mechatronics
  • Metallurgy and Materials Science
  • Plastic Technology
  • Welding

The MEC also houses a 3D printing lab and robotic lab, while greatly increasing hands-on space for welding, manufacturing, plastics technology and material science. Courses in Engineering, Quality Management and Occupational Safety & Health also will be offered at the MEC.

Amy Jones, Associate Dean of Occupational Programs, led the tour. The highlights included:

  • Steven E. Rochon, Professor in the Engineering/Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs, showed how to design and print a Schoolcraft College keychain and explained the College’s new 3D printers.
  • Gene Keyes, Associate Professor in the Manufacturing Department and Department Representative, showed how to create products on Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines and explained how students can graduate quickly to earn good wages.
  • Coley McLean, Assistant Professor in the Welding Technology department and Department Representative, demonstrated welding techniques, explained the science behind the skill and invited media members to try their hand.
  • Dennis Fohey, who serves as full-time Materials Science Instructor (overseeing both Metallurgy and Plastics Technology) in the Metallurgy and Materials Science department, demonstrated equipment used to test metal. Media members also did a bit of “hot forming” of steel after pieces were treated in ovens that reach more than 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Joan A. Gebhardt, Chair of the Board of Trustees, also joined the tour to support the media event.

“We’re extremely proud of our exceptional Faculty and to be able to provide them with state-of-the art facilities like the Manufacturing and Engineering Center,” she said. “The MEC will also play a pivotal role in the College’s strategic efforts to create an early awareness for middle and high school students in these high-demand careers.”

Schoolcraft College has always produced high-quality skilled-trades workers. With MEC strategically located near Livonia’s industrial corridor, graduates can practically walk from classroom to a new place of employment.

The Livonia Industrial Corridor, which is defined as the business zone between I-96 and Plymouth Road, through the city from Inkster Road to Eckles Road, is home to some 700 manufacturing, industrial, warehouse, shipping and tooling operations.

Schoolcraft College faculty members combine academic excellence with a wealth of hands-on, real-world experience as well as key business connections. This is especially true in the occupational programs, where instructors often are able to line up students with jobs while they are finishing their coursework.

“We were basically maxed out in terms of space at our previous location,” said Dr. Leadley. “The additional classrooms and lab space will allow us to better serve our students and meet the needs of our industry partners.”

In addition to serving today’s students, MEC will be a hub for attracting new students as well as the College works with local K-12 districts and beyond.

“The College has been working with our industry partners, and together we want to engage the K-12 students earlier in the process. Without this exposure early on, industry has not been able to fill the ever-increasing labor shortage in southeastern Michigan,” Dr. Cerny said.

View Dr. Cerny’s TV interview.