By the end of June 2021, there were more than 10 million job openings in America.Niagara Bottling, LLC–which has both a bottling plant and centralized rebuild facility located in OKC–currently has 500 open positions nationwide. According to the OKC Technical Engineering Manager, Drew Helms, Niagara is eager to hire skilled workers with mechanical and electrical backgrounds. He says it has been difficult to fill open positions with workers who already have the needed skills.
Canadian Valley Technical Center’s new Industrial Automation and Robotics Technology (IART) program welcomed its first class of students earlier this month. Instructor Olin Bundy recognizes the need to develop an American workforce who can operate and service today’s highly automated machinery. The IART program teaches pneumatics, hydraulics, and electrical components as they apply to automated machines. Bundy stresses his program at CV Tech will bridge the skills gap plaguing companies like Niagara. Students are trained for immediate employment opportunities like those available at Niagara. CV Tech works to ensure students find quality employment upon completion of their program of choice. This means working closely with local businesses and industries to identify needs and opportunities.
Recently, Bundy, along with several CV Tech staff members toured the Niagara Centralized Rebuild Facility with Helms and the facility’s supervisor, AJ Vukich. Helms and Vukich explained some of the machinery and processes in depth, while Bundy explained how the IART program would train future students in those areas.
CV Tech has an entire business and industry services (BIS) team that works closely with the local community to develop opportunities for both students and employers. In November of 2020, CV Tech was selected as of nine Centers for Workforce Excellence(CWE) under the Oklahoma Works Together program.This program is designed to strengthen Oklahoma by aligning curriculum with local employment demand. CV Tech hopes that forming such strong relationships with local businesses will not only lead to excellent employment opportunities for their students, but also build a robust local economy. Helms agrees and hopes many future hires come directly from the IART program.