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Students Learn to Manufacture Their Future at QCC

October, 2017
  • Lee Duerden, Coordinator of the QCC's Manufacturing Technology Program introduces the manufacturing panel to students.
  • A student tries his had at operating a robot.
  • Mike Ciprari, President of SJC Custom Drums.

Quinsigamond Community College’s manufacturing programs were the star of the campus on Friday, October 6, as the college partook in Manufacturing Day, a national public recognition day developed to inspire and motivate the next generation of manufacturers.

QCC hosted its own Manufacturing Day event at its main campus to showcase the college’s manufacturing programs, resources and future manufacturing career opportunities. Approximately 60 high school and college students from QCC; Spencer’s David Prouty High School; Southbridge High School, in addition to some students from Worcester’s North High School and Worcester Technical High School spent the morning learning about manufacturing through demonstrations and hands-on activities.

“Manufacturing is a broader field than you might have imagined,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja, during the opening presentation at Hebert Auditorium. “It’s not the past, it’s the future. All of you here are part of the future.”

Students were able to choose between a myriad of locations throughout the campus to view manufacturing demonstrations and experience firsthand some of the machines available for use at the college.  

At the Electrical Engineering Lab students viewed demonstrations from employees of Karl Storz Endovision (Charlton) and were able to see firsthand how the education received at QCC can be turned into real world applications. Students visited QCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Lab and watched as Computer numerical control mill and lathe programs, along with laser cutters and Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) that test for accuracy, were demonstrated. In addition, industry representatives from American Fabrication (Clinton); Hyde Tools (Southbridge) and Saint Gobain (Worcester) were stationed in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, offering students unique insights into their industries and explaining to students how they can take what they learn at QCC and apply it into real world applications.

The Fab Lab also offered students an opportunity to witness 3D printers and laser cutters in action and students were able to try some of the high tech equipment.  Other areas students visited included the Advanced Technologies Lab, where students could view Fanuc robots in action; and the Harrington Learning Center that featured Nao and VEX robots, in addition to representatives from ACUITY Technologies (Auburn).

One of the highlights of the event was speaker President of SJC Custom Drums, Mike Ciprari, of Southbridge, who enthralled the students with the story of his life and business at the start of the event.

Mr. Ciprari began his business as a young teen making custom drums by hand with his brother. Today he told the students his business has taken off in ways he couldn’t have imagined. He works with world renowned artists such as Imagine Dragons, Green Day, Panic at the Disco and Slipknot to name a few, as he told the students to think outside of the box when it comes to manufacturing.

“I was able to turn my passion into a career. I was able to create a dream for myself. You can make a career out of manufacturing.  I never knew I was in a manufacturing company, I thought I was just doing something cool. There’s amazing technology at your disposal. Manufacturing is more than just running programs and operating a robot,” he said. “At SJC we now have CNC machines that create more jobs for more people. We need people to run the machines. I feel like there is a lot more growth in manufacturing.”

Students were also given the opportunity to listen to a panel of current QCC students and graduates who work in the manufacturing industry. Panelists included: Justin Hence, Hyde Tools Joe Abbascia, AKUITY Technologies John Carmody, American Fabrication and Emily Miller from Metso Automation in Shrewsbury.

“You never know what you learn now or try now will help you later. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to fail,” added Ms. Miller.

Dr. Pedraja takes a moment to discuss the future of manufacturing.