While wearing a safety glasses, Samantha Monroe concentrated as she operated machinery inside a shop at Sampson Community College.
As she moved around the Occupational Building, a crowd observed her operate a FMS-200 system, which is used to train students in industrial automation. Along with other students, she was happy to show how it works during an open house. Thanks to a generous grant from Duke Energy, the system is giving Monroe experience for her future goals in the industrial field or mechanics.
“It’s an hands-on situation like in the real world and there’s always a solution for something,” she said.
Monroe, a dual-enrollment student from Clinton High School, takes classes at the college in the afternoon.
“I like working with technology because I like working with my hands,” Monroe said. “It’s always different — nothing is the same. If something messes up, you have to find a solution.”
The machine assembles a turning mechanism, which moves large industrial objects. It includes an aluminum body, a bearing of a shaft, cover and screws. Instructor Durwood King said the automatic assembly process involve hydraulics, pneumatics, programmable controllers to produce a final product. Through the program, the students learn how to solve problems for automatic systems.
“They’re learning the technology of how all this stuff ties together and runs automatically like it does in plants, like Smithfield, Butterball and Schindler,” King said. “The process may not be the same of what they’re doing, but a lot of devices that we’re using are similar.”
Duke Energy supported the program by giving a $250,000 grant to SCC for the Industrial Systems Technology Program. John Elliott, Duke Energy’s director of government and community relations, presented the check in January and was present Thursday during the open house.
“I’m very thankful that they put money in it because that has helped us to get on another whole level on the training and preparing people,” King said.
Elliott said it was exciting to see a vision of preparing students for jobs in the community with the technology.
“That’s when it all comes together,” Elliott said. “I can’t enough of the faculty and staff that had the vision for programs like this for students to be ready for the workforce.”
SCC President Paul Hutchins said he’s been looking forward to the open house event for several months and thanked everyone who made it possible.
“A community college is all about preparing men and women for opportunities that lie ahead,” Hutchins said. “For community colleges, it’s vital that we train on state-of-the-art equipment.”
Darrell Matthews, division chair for Business and Occupational Technologies Programs, said it was a good chance to thank Duke Energy and other supporters.
“To have something like this is unique, but to have the latest, greatest technology right here in Sampson County training the students who will work for our local industries, that’s even better,” Matthews said. “It’s a win-win for everybody. It wouldn’t be possible without Duke Energy.”
Kate Brown, director of customized training and workforce development programs for SCC, said she was proud to be recipient of the grant.
“It’s an added value for the business industry,” Brown said. “We have worked productively and we’ve been committed to working with our business industries and creating more efficiency.”
The Industrial Technology program is designed to prepare students to service, maintain, repair or install equipment. Some of the technical skills taught include reading blueprints, welding working hydraulics. Another purpose is to prepare an individual for employment in a certain occupation. The program takes about one year or less to finish.
SCC offers certificate programs for agricultural business maintenance, commercial building maintenance, electrical, industrial maintenance, machine operations and maintenance operations. Jared Hudson, is one of many students enrolled in the program. He also participated in the demonstration. In the future, he would like to be in the wiring and maintenance for hog farms.
“I really enjoy it,” Hudson said. “It’s pretty awesome to learn.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.