WARREN — The field of manufacturing is back and has a promising future.

That was the sentiment of the educators, local dignitaries and business leaders who gathered the evening of Oct. 23 at the Lincoln Career and Technology Mark A. Kedzior Center in Van Dyke Public Schools.

The evening gave attendees the opportunity to see the partnerships the district has built with various businesses in an effort to offer manufacturing classes at the school. The idea for such classes is to prepare and train students to work in the field.

The Lincoln Career and Technology Mark A. Kedzior Center offers a number of classes, including dental assisting, culinary arts, automotive technology, CAD/engineering, advanced manufacturing, culinary arts and computer technology programs.

Those in attendance last Monday also had the opportunity to view the different equipment and machinery that businesses have donated to the district for students in the computer-aided design and computer numerical control classes and to see how the programs have enhanced over the last few years.

Attendees included Warren Mayor Jim Fouts; Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel; state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren; state Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville; several school board members; VDPS Superintendent Piper Bognar; LHS Principal Billie Sczepaniak; and a number of business professionals. Mike Zainea is the manufacturing technology instructor and Fred Cook teaches CAD and drafting at the school.

“This facility is going to help another generation to fill jobs of the future and the present,” Bieda said.

The manufacturing program has received support from the following companies that were acknowledged during the evening: American Mold Builders Association donated $10,000; Metro Air donated a compressor, piping and installation valued at $10,000; Powertran donated a transformer valued at $2,000; Autodesk donated software valued at $1.2 million; and Precision Mold and Manufacturing donated decals of partner companies valued at $1,000.

Several speakers, including DMG MORI President Masahiko Mori, addressed the crowd about the new equipment and the opportunities it will bring to the students. Mori, who traveled from Japan to attend last week’s event, donated a CNC machine valued at $200,000 to $250,000.

Mori said manufacturing has suffered in the United States for the past 20 years because of cheap labor and outside competition. But that is changing, and skilled workers will be needed in the future. That includes filling positions that will be vacant because of those getting ready to retire.

“The manufacturing is now starting to come back to the United States,” he said. “We have to create new education. We have to create new machinists. We have to create new models. We need software. I am very excited to support Lincoln (High) School for the new center of manufacturing.”

Other areas in which skilled manufacturers will be needed will be in the medical field, national security and defense. Some in attendance thanked the Van Dyke Public Schools Board of Education for its support of the district.

“You have great leadership with the superintendent of schools and with the school board. That’s what makes great schools,” Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said. “We encourage businesses to expand or locate here.”

“Career technology was a must for our students,” VDPS Board of Education President Richard Carloni said. “It’s amazing how the businesses have stepped up. … You will not know what you have done for this district. Our students will learn and be mentored on new state-of-the-art equipment. You certainly have made a difference in our future for our students and the Van Dyke community.”

Current LHS students and graduates Travis Turner, Tygee Steger, Yousif Akoob, Heaven Lipford, Steven Kish and Michael Owen also took to the podium to briefly talk about their experience in the district’s manufacturing program, and five of them are currently working in the manufacturing field.

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