UTICA – The Advanced Institute of Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) provides a range of services to manufacturing businesses within the six-county Mohawk Valley region as the center of the New York Manufacturing Expansion Partnership (MEP).
“We are one of 11 MEP centers located in New York State,” says Corey Albrecht, director of AIM. The institute serves Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, and Schoharie counties as a central access point for manufacturing and technology assistance. “Our mission is to support small and medium manufacturing in the Mohawk Valley area, helping them grow their businesses and generate greater profits,” he notes.
Some of the programming topics covered by AIM to help those companies include lean manufacturing, lean six sigma, cyber security, risk assessment and training, and quality management systems, to name a few.
“We have a very comprehensive program for mid-level managers and supervisors,” Albrecht confirms.
AIM also offers a lot of technical training in areas such as welding, CNC machining, mechanical, electrical and HVAC along with MVCC. Being the only MEP located at a community college, AIM is able to access programming for credit on the college side and deliver that training directly to the manufacturer’s doorstep, notes Albrecht. In this way, AIM has helped companies such as Oriskany Manufacturing and Bartell Machinery Systems, both of which needed qualified welders.
Albrecht says companies are struggling because that trained workforce isn’t really there anymore. “These companies are forced to change the way they think and change their approach to workforce development.” He says working with AIM is one way companies can provide workers with the training they need to fill those roles.
While AIM consistently offers a mix of programming, Albrecht says the institute is working hard to provide companies with what they need. “Every business we start in, they ask us for employees,” he says, so workforce development remains a dominant area of programming.
In this regard, AIM collaborates closely with school districts in the region to promote job opportunities in manufacturing. Domestically, this could include jobs at Wolfspeed, Danfoss, and Indium Corporation.
AIM has arranged trips for local high school counselors, principals, and even principals to visit those companies and see first-hand what types of jobs are available.
“We have to provide them with knowledge and create awareness of what the Mohawk Valley region needs,” says Albrecht.
AIM also recently visited the Free Rome Academy with FuzeHub and Expertise Project to deliver a workforce presentation to more than 100 technology students. AIM also awarded the school with virtual reality (VR) headsets and free licenses for career exploration programming. Albrecht says AIM has been able to create videos about what it’s like to work at local manufacturing companies such as Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. and FX Matt Brewing Co.
Albrecht says it’s all about providing information and also breaking down barriers that might prevent people from pursuing manufacturing jobs. For many, it is likely that the perception of a manufacturing job is significantly skewed from reality, he notes. Rather than a low-paying job in a sloppy factory, the reality is much different in many manufacturing locations today. “You wouldn’t believe what some of these advanced manufacturing jobs pay,” he says.
New York State currently has more than 9,500 manufacturing jobs posted on Indeed.com, Albrecht says, and the average annual manufacturing compensation in the state is $80,394.
While AIM is capable of assisting almost any business, it specializes in microelectronics, semiconductors, food and beverage, metals, lumber, and distribution.