MSDE high­lights AMP pro­gram

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

RIDGELY — Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Mary­land De­part­ment of La­bor Li­cens­ing and Reg­u­la­tion vis­ited the Caro­line Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter on Fri­day, Sept. 14, to see first­hand the school’s new Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­fes­sion­als pro­gram in ac­tion.

The pro­gram, de­vel­oped in a part­ner­ship be­tween the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, Caro­line County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and lo­cal busi­nesses, aims to pre­pare stu­dents for ca­reers in the county’s grow­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dustr y.

Stu­dents learn from not only their CCTC in­struc­tor, Keith Hale, but also from lo­cal busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives, teach­ing tech­ni­cal skills, like us­ing wood­work­ing ma­chines and de­sign soft­ware, as well as the

“soft skills,” like think­ing cre­atively to solve prob­lems and mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions, em­ploy­ers need in new hires.

“The pur­pose is to train stu­dents to work at a much higher level than tra­di­tional tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion,” said Alan Stein, pres­i­dent of Tan­gle­wood Con­ser­va­to­ries in Den­ton. “They learn to think in­di­vid­u­ally but work in teams, which (em­ploy­ers) would usu­ally have to teach to kids right out of high school.

“We are ac­cel­er­at­ing their ca­reers here,” Stein said.

The pro­gram en­rolled its first co­hort of stu­dents at the be­gin­ning of the 2017-18 school year. In that first year, the stu­dents re­searched, de­signed, built, mar­keted and sold two projects, a bird­house and a clock.

Now in their third se­mes­ter of class­room in­struc­tion, the 12 stu­dents are work­ing on a ca­jón, a box-shaped drum on which the player sits; their fi­nal pro­ject this se­mes­ter will be an elec­tric gui­tar, built with do­nated pieces and help from Paul Reed Smith Guitars in Stevensville.

In the spring, their fourth and fi­nal se­mes­ter in the pro­gram, the stu­dents will in­tern at var­i­ous lo­cal busi­nesses.

At the end, stu­dents can sit for the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Skill Stan­dards Coun­cil’s cer­ti­fied pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cian exam, pre­par­ing them to go di­rectly into the work­force or in pur­suit of an ad­vanced de­gree.

On Fri­day, the stu­dents pre­sented the plans for the ca­jón pro­ject to the vis­i­tors, who then sat in on that day’s les­son on man­ag­ing cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions to pro­vide a qual­ity prod­uct, led by Nicole Mi­ha­los, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Un­tan­gled Minds, and Stein.

Kyleigh Wit­ter, a ju­nior, ex­plained her ca­jòn de­sign, which was picked to be the one the class will now mass pro­duce for sale, the funds from which will go to­ward the up­com­ing elec­tric gui­tar pro­ject.

Wit­ter said she chose a her­ring­bone de­sign for the ca­jòn’s sides, in dif­fer­ent­col­ored woods, with a laseren­graved im­age of a sun on the drum’s front face, at the bot­tom, where the drum­mer does not strike to play it.

She worked with a wood­work­ing com­pany in Eas­ton to solve the prob­lem of main­tain­ing the sides’ struc­tural in­tegrity while us­ing the an­gled her­ring­bone de­sign.

Mar­quita Fri­day, pro­gram man­ager for ca­reer and tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion with the Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, asked the stu­dents why they chose the AMP pro­gram.

Wit­ter said she had tried other ca­reer paths, in­clud­ing pre-med­i­cal and cos­me­tol­ogy, but did not like ei­ther. Her guid­ance coun­selor sug­gested she try the new AMP pro­gram.

“I’ve been here ever since,” she said.

Colton Muir, a ju­nior, said he tried it be­cause he was in­ter­ested in trade work, par­tic­u­larly weld­ing.

After in­tern­ing at Tan­gle­wood Con­ser­va­to­ries over the sum­mer, he hopes to work there after grad­u­at­ing.

Ryan Saun­ders, a se­nior, said he started in the con­struc­tion pro­gram.

“That wasn’t my strong suit, but I was good at CAD (com­puter-aided de­sign),” Saun­ders said, so he switched to the new AMP pro­gram.

After ob­serv­ing the class, Fri­day said MSDE would do what it could to help the pro­gram reach its goal of de­vel­op­ing a work­force for lo­cal in­dustr y.

“I’m in­ter­ested in see­ing a strong man­u­fac­tur­ing econ­omy here on the Eastern Shore, that’s here to stay,” Fri­day said.

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

Kyleigh Wit­ter, a ju­nior at North Caro­line High School, dis­cusses the de­sign plan be­hind a ca­jon.

PHO­TOS BY JACK RODGERS

Un­tan­gled Minds Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Nicole Mi­ha­los, right, presents to North Caro­line High School stu­dents Fri­day on busi­ness lo­gis­tics and strat­egy. Also pic­tured is Alan Stein, pres­i­dent of Un­tan­gled Minds.

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