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Posts Tagged ‘Knappe & Koester’

That’s Knights with a K, as in Keene State College

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Business Resource Specialist Chris Wellington, who covers western New Hampshire for the Division of Economic Development, is today’s guest blogger. Ed.

What happens when creative minds start thinking?

In the Monadnock region, Thursday nights get a makeover.

Keene State College is well-known for its liberal arts and teacher preparation programs, but over the past few years it has become a statewide leader for training the next generation of designers, manufacturers, engineers and machinists.

With the creation of the TDS Center in 2012 and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in 2010, Keene State College is on the front line of economic development in the manufacturing sector in New Hampshire. RCAM is a collaborative partnership between the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Keene State College, River Valley Community College, the Keene School District and the business community.

Team Thursday Knights

Team Thursday Knights

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Manufacturing Enterprise Capstone  presentation by 15 Keene State seniors.  The Manufacturing Enterprise Capstone is part of the Sustainable Product Design and Innovation major, which is a relatively new, four-year major at Keene State College, which was built on the foundation of the Manufacturing, Design and Technology Education majors that have been at Keene State for decades.

The new SPDI major incorporates a strong emphasis on sustainable design and how it impacts manufacturing and engineering. For the Manufacturing Enterprise capstone project, students are given $500 to come up with an enterprise where they must create, design and develop a product, then market and sell it to their target audience.

Nights Out Belt Buckle

This year’s class created the entity Thursday Knights Inc. and developed the Knights Out belt buckle.  It serves a dual role as a belt buckle and carrying case, which included a personalized engraved front and a money/credit card clip, for the low price of $20.  During the presentation, the students explained how they wanted to create a product that allowed students to leave their wallets and purses at home when they went out on ‘Thursday Knights.’

At the start of the semester, students took on a particular role, as they would within any local manufacturing company. Whether they were the materials manager, Lean coordinator, engineer, quality control manager or marketing manager, they had to work in unison with the team to produce the finished product, with the goal of earning a profit at the end of the semester.

“This program provides our students with hands on experience and places them in real world situations that showcase the rewards and challenges of working in the manufacturing industry,” said Professor Christopher Gray.

Aside from the enthusiasm the students expressed throughout the presentation, one of the best aspects of the program is the support and encouragement from the business community. Ray Anderson from Knappe & Koester donated $700 worth of aluminum; NE Metal Finishing provided low cost tumbling and finishing  services and additional support in the form of tooling came from True Tool Innovations and Vic Kissel from Maxcess International.

“Support from the business community is vital to the SPDI program and provides our students with valuable contacts once they graduate,” Gray said.

There is a myth in the US that manufacturing is a dying industry, but in western New Hampshire, advanced manufacturing is alive and thriving. Thanks to programs like SDPI, educators like Gray, the support of the business community and eager young students, manufacturing in New Hampshire has a very bright future.

To learn more about the SPDI program and opportunities to collaborate with RCAM and Keene State College please contact Chris Gray at 603-358-2951 or cgray@keene.edu

Chris Wellington

Business Resource Specialist

NH Division of Economic Development


Keene Area Employers Recruiting Candidates for Machining Training

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Keene area employers Corning NetOptics, New Hampshire Ball Bearing, Tidland and Knappe & Koester, in partnership with River Valley Community College (RVCC) and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) announced today that they are recruiting candidates for a unique training opportunity for CNC Machining. The training will be provided free to participants and will lead directly to full-time positions.

cnc_machining“New Hampshire is leading the region and the nation in economic recovery, and our economic strategy is making a difference. That strategy includes ensuring we have a highly skilled, educated workforce in New Hampshire,” Gov. Lynch said. “By making wise investments in our workers through job training we are helping to ensure we have the workforce companies need to compete and to grow right here in New Hampshire.”

The CNC machinist positions are for first, second and third shift operations, depending on the sponsoring employer. Workers will earn a starting wage of $12 per hour with full benefits. Wages may increase incrementally over two years to $14-16 per hour, based on each individual’s performance.

“We are fortunate to have the challenge of expanding our workforce needs to meet growing demand for our products,” said Michael Platt, Plant Manager at Corning NetOptics.

“How well we meet this challenge will be determined by how well we can hire and educate a trained workforce,” said Donna Marcin, PHR, Human Resources Manager at New Hampshire Ball Bearings.

The initiative will be the first program implemented under the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM). “The Regional Center for Advance Manufacturing is excited to offer this program and we are looking forward to the possibilities that this kind of program offers the Keene area and its employers,” said Susan Newcomer, Workforce Development Coordinator, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce.  “This program nicely compliments our mission to support and enhance advanced manufacturing is the Keene area.” 

The hiring will be conducted through their partnership with the River Valley Community College’s STAR program. The STAR program launched in December of 2008 offers workers an accelerated, two-year advanced manufacturing apprenticeship while being employed with the employer. At the same time, these workers will earn college credits which can be applied towards an associate’s degree at the college.

“River Valley Community College is committed to the creation of education and training that serve the needs of employers, the New Hampshire workforce, and the economic development needs of the state and our region. This partnership represents a strategy that builds upon the strengths of the college, our state economic development agencies, and the private sector in delivering a truly comprehensive program leading to job placement,” stated Steve Budd, President, River Valley Community College.

“It’s exciting to see the state’s most innovative manufacturers continue to grow and add jobs,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “As manufacturing is the state’s number one industry, offering good paying jobs with opportunities for career growth, this is great news.”

Program participants will be selected through a rigorous recruitment process beginning with a mandatory orientation to be held on Monday, January 17th at the River Valley Community College Keene Campus, Keene, NH. The orientation will include presentations from the sponsoring employers’ staffs as well as from River Valley Community College.

Participants will also have the opportunity to receive a nationally recognized industry certification through the USDOL Apprenticeship Division. “The New Hampshire State Apprenticeship Council is proud to be a part of this program,” says Charles Vaughan, of the New Hampshire US/DOL apprenticeship office. “The STAR education model is unique and will give us an opportunity to evaluate a different way of thinking about training apprentices throughout the state.”

The STAR program is funded by two grants from the US Department of Labor, one secured through the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and one secured through the office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Applications are encouraged as soon as possible. Individuals interested in applying to the program must visit the college website at www.rivervalley.edu to fill out an online application on or before January 17, 2011. Questions and inquiries can be directed to Jim Britton, River Valley Community College, at (603) 542-7744 x5346, or email at jbritton@ccsnh.edu. Up-to-date program information will be posted regularly on the website.