Engineering Club Tours Computerized Manufacturing and Machining Program at BCTC’s Danville Campus

Students from the Garrard County High School engineering club had a chance to do more than tour the facilities of the Computerized Manufacturing and Machining program at Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC) Wednesday, October 28, 2015. The students were handed two metal circles and then walked through the entire process of machining a yo-yo while BCTC Computerized Manufacturing and Machining students explained the different steps and ran the machines. After making several stops around the lab, each student walked away with a usable yo-yo. Twenty-one high school students crowded around the stations in the Computerized Manufacturing and Machining (CMM) lab at BCTC’s Danville Campus, asking questions, learning how the different machines work and getting the opportunity to talk to current BCTC students about what they are learning in their classes. For many of the GCHS students, it was their first time seeing how a product is made. Dylan Lewis, a junior at Garrard County High School and vice-president of the engineering club didn’t have any ideas about what the club would be seeing at the Danville Campus, but his interest in BCTC was sparked after the tour. “I liked that you went through each step and got to hold a finished product at the end,” Lewis said. “For many of the high school students that come through, this is their first exposure to manufacturing. They get to see how a product is made from start to finish and a yo-yo is something they can identify with,” said Mark Welch, the Danville CMM instructor who coordinated the visit. “I liked how you could see what was going on and understand how it worked,” said McKenzie Rice, a sophomore at GCHS. The Garrard County High School engineering club has grown steadily since it was created three years ago by science teacher Angela Fielder. In fact, there’s been so much interest in the club, Fielder has had to cap membership at 35 students to keep events manageable. “I want the kids to see why machining is important and how it works,” said Fielder about the BCTC tour. “They think STEM and they think engineering, but I want them to see all aspects of the field and to understand the practical applications.” The CMM program at BCTC is an industry-driven program that prepares students for a career in the field of machining and manufacturing. The program emphasizes a combination of machine tool theory and practical application that employers want, focusing on learning about conventional equipment and programming and setup of CNC machines. Students benefit from a hands-on approach to learning and leave the program prepared for a variety of industry jobs that employers are consistently looking to fill. The CMM program is available at BCTC’s Danville and Leestown Campuses.