When U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., recently asked about visiting Front Range Community College’s Precision Machining program, Director George Newman helped arrange a gathering to highlight collaboration between education and business. It’s a strategy that has been key to the program’s success.
“We contacted a business that we work closely with, and they arranged a formal tour of their facility—to more effectively show the senator how they partner with us to put an FRCC education to work.”
FRCC Partners with Local Manufacturing Company
Bennet visited Hirsh Precision Products, a Boulder manufacturing company, which has a vital relationship with FRCC’s program. The company:
- Hires students coming out of the program (located at the Boulder County Campus);
- Has sent its employees to FRCC for training; and
- Has donated materials to the program.
President and CEO Mike Hirsh also serves on the advisory committee for the machining program.
Hirsh Precision began its operations in a single 10-by-10 room back in 1979. From that humble beginning, the business has now moved into a 24,000 square-foot facility that houses “some of the most advanced technology in the industry,” according to its website.
Local Businesses Get Skilled Workers
FRCC partners with employers like Hirsh to create the college’s machining program, which opened in 2013. “This is how we like to create new programs—by working with industry leaders to identify and prioritize the skill sets they need, and then having them help us build the curriculum,” said Newman.
“This kind of partnership works well for everyone,” he added. “The businesses involved get the well-trained workers they need, and our students get excellent training and job prospects out of it. It’s also great for the local economy.”
FRCC to Expand to Offer Two New Manufacturing Programs
Bennet was curious why there aren’t more programs out there like the one at FRCC. “I told him about two new programs we’re developing in electronics technology and industrial maintenance,” Newman said.
He told Bennet that the college wants to open a new center for integrated manufacturing in FRCC’s service area. “We keep hearing from our industry contacts that there is a great need for well-trained workers with specific skills,” Newman said. “Our plan is to build a new, larger facility to house four manufacturing programs—two existing offerings and two new ones.”
Students Steal the Show
Bennet got the chance to chat with FRCC alumnus Sawyer Hayes—who is now employed at Hirsh. Bennet also asked current students Justin Williamson and Kevin Ridgway, who joined the tour, to talk about their experiences in the machining program.