Learning Center doing its part to help local manufacturers fill jobs

Jack Curless, a senior at Huntington North High School, concentrates on a radius project in his precision machining class at the Huntington County Community Learning Center on Feb. 25. The Learning Center strives to help fill in-demand positions in the local manufacturing sector. Employees with experience running computer numerical control machines are currently sought after.
Jack Curless, a senior at Huntington North High School, concentrates on a radius project in his precision machining class at the Huntington County Community Learning Center on Feb. 25. The Learning Center strives to help fill in-demand positions in the local manufacturing sector. Employees with experience running computer numerical control machines are currently sought after. Photo by Steve Clark.

The Huntington County Community Learning Center is endeavoring to help fill positions at local manufacturing companies.

Tiffaney Drummond, the Learning Center’s director, says the facility makes it a point to stay abreast of manufacturers’ needs. One of the main ways it accomplishes that, she notes, is by interacting with the Learning Center Advisory Board and Advisory Council, both of which feature representatives from the local manufacturing sector.

“We want to be in touch with local employers, make sure that we’re training people with the skillsets that they need in their workforce,” says Drummond.

Drummond says employees with experience in the areas of industrial maintenance, computer numerical control (CNC) and welding are currently coveted by employers.

The Learning Center has offered several industrial maintenance classes as of late, says Drummond. That class, she notes, covers safety, print reading, measurements, dimensions and more. It spans 25 weeks and meets twice a week.

A CNC class is also currently being offered.

“It takes your basic mill and lathe work and then it’s the computerized component,” explains Drummond.

CNC training is also offered in the precision machining course that falls under the umbrella of the Learning Center and Huntington North High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program.

While a welding class isn’t currently being offered at the Learning Center, classes covering that topic have been held there previously.

Drummond says it’s likely only a matter of time before the Learning Center offers such a class again.

“I would definitely watch for a welding class, because I think that that will come as the funding comes,” she notes.
The people receiving instruction at the Learning Center make up a diverse student body. That body, says Drummond, consists of high school students as well as adult students. Individuals already employed in the manufacturing sector are also in that number.
“The last class that we ran was made up almost entirely of incumbent workers,” says Drummond, referring to industrial maintenance instruction at the Learning Center. “So, a company recognized potential in an employee, sent them to that training, so that when that opening became available, they were ready to go.”

Drummond says one of the Learning Center’s biggest assets is its instructors. Those individuals, she notes, boast years of real-world experience in their respective areas of expertise. For example, shares Drummond, the facility’s machining instructor worked in industry for 15 years and the automotive instructor was a trainer for General Motors.
“Everybody’s still very much in tune with industry,” she observes.
For more information about the Learning Center, visit the facility at 2201 N. Jefferson St., Huntington, or log on to lc.hccsc. k12.in.us.
Drummond takes pride in the spirit of collaboration between the Learning Center and employers and the dividends it yields for
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 Huntington County’s workforce.
“We’re really thankful to the community for supporting us and to our local employers who have embraced the trainings that we’re offering here,” she says. “We really just want to work to meet the needs of our community.”