EMAG recently announced its receipt of a five-year, $200,000 agreement with Oakland Community College (OCC), through the Michigan New Jobs Training (MNJT) program, for the training of 21 new employees in manufacturing technology, CNC machine tools, mechanical maintenance, electrical and robotics disciplines. Peter Loetzner, EMAG CEO, accepted the award from Dr. Timothy Meyer, chancellor of Oakland Community College, and J. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive, during the Oakland County Economic Outlook Luncheon, held at the Troy Marriott on April 26, 2012.
Beginning the speeches at the event, OCC Chancellor, Meyer noted the critical importance of education and training in the creation and retention of manufacturing jobs in Southeastern Michigan, an area hard hit by the recent economic downturn in the auto industry and other manufacturing sectors of the economy. He then introduced Oakland County Executive J. Brooks Patterson, who continued this theme, citing the recent creation of 36,000 new jobs in Oakland County as well as other awards made to companies who've chosen to locate in the area.
Introducing Loetzner, Meyer then detailed the collaboration between OCC and EMAG, noting how the study of mechatronics would raise the skill level of both engineers and the plant workforce to higher levels of technical competence and multi-functional abilities.
During his remarks, Loetzner recounted his own experience as a student in this now rapidly growing field of mechatronics, where mechanical engineering melds with electrical and electronic engineering to help students better understand the inter-relationship of components on a machine. Mechatronic engineers and field technicians are now highly valued individuals in many industries, Loetzner noted. He added that EMAG will have at least 20 openings in engineering throughout the next few years at his company, the result of increased sales and the EMAG commitment to serving the North American market from its expanding headquarters in the Detroit area. He further commented how such programs have the dual advantages of growing the manufacturing base in the area, as well as raising the skill level of the employees, which in turn attracts more businesses to Oakland County.
EMAG has engaged in training for its employees as well as its customers' programming, operator and maintenance personnel throughout the company's history, both in Germany and in America. The company sells its machines to job shops and original equipment manufacturers' metalworking departments worldwide, with a heavy concentration in the automotive and off-highway machinery markets.
Loetzner thanked the OCC and Oakland County personnel who helped develop this program, especially Meyer, Patterson and Sharon Miller, the vice chancellor of external affairs at OCC. He concluded his remarks on a humorous note, "As we say in mechatronics, keep thinking INSIDE the box."
Miller next spoke at the event, citing the creation of five new jobs programs in the last year, awarded to companies ranging from the start-up mode such as Oxus, a portable oxygen equipment distributor for the medical industry, to the multi-national truck parts supplier Meritor, who added 63 employees in Troy, Michigan as a result of the MNJT program.
Meyer concluded the speaking with several observations on the nature of education. He cited the need for institutions to be more proactive in redesigning their curriculum to better suit the needs of the local manufacturing base, plus the need to partner with more companies in the area, as well as community organizations. "After all," he concluded, "community is our middle name!"