AMP program building skilled workforce
Untangled Minds, Tanglewood Conser vatories host open house
— Caroline County community members received a look at the new Advanced Manufacturing and Production Professionals (AMP) educational program during an open house Thursday, Jan. 18, at Tanglewood Conser vatories in Denton.
The event was hosted by the Untangled Minds organization, which is associated with Tanglewood Conser vatories, a business creating custom glass conservatories and antique greenhouses for customers all over the world.
In 2014, the Tanglewood began exploring Untangled Minds, an educational program partnership with Caroline County Public Schools and several local businesses, set out to develop a program to help students excel in an advanced manufacturing setting.
Untangled Minds’ goal is to
get students in a fast-track, career-ready program that would set them up for success in the advanced manufacturing industry right out of high school. From there, the Caroline Career and Technology Center developed the AMP Program in partnership with Untangled Minds, Tanglewood Conservatories and other MidShore businesses.
The AMP program prepares students for local manufacturing careers. Students graduating from the program will be prepared to take the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification.
The program is a handson course of study. Students work closely with local businesses to complete projects based on real-world problems. AMP began Jan. 25 at the Caroline Career and Technology Center with 16 high school juniors enrolled.
“There are a lot of other options available for our youth besides going and getting a four-year degree,” said Untangled Minds Vice President Josh Zimmerman. “A four-year degree does not hold the same value that it used it. We don’t have enough skilled-laborers to fill these jobs — jobs that pay very good wages with great benefits.”
“The AMP program attempts to address these concerns at a high school level,” he said. “Then a student can choose to study similar programs like at Chesapeake College or if they want to go into direct employment with one of our wonderful partners.”
In addition to Tanglewood Conservatories and Untangled Minds, PRS Guitars, Winchester Construction, Dart Container, Dixon Value, Hinckley Yachts, Combined Technology Solutions, Chesapeake College, Cambridge International, Maryland Plastics, Warrens Wood Works, REEB Millwork and REC Inc. all partner with the AMP program.
Zimmerman said the program also focuses on building skills for teamwork, integrity, thinking, problem solving, all while developing manufacturing skills.
“We can do a lot more for our community with a longterm process, and by building in skills that can help, not just to get a job, but with sustainability with character, integrity and workplace enthusiasm,” he said. “AMP builds, not just skill sets that are necessary for employment in our local area, but also builds those pieces of character that we find are lacking sometimes in what we have coming in for workforce.
“Students build those skills and get to work in manufacturing settings inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “This comes together with everyone working together. Industry expertise is the greatest asset this program has.”
While in the AMP program, all students become forklift certified, a skill needed in manufacturing settings. The local partners also come into the classroom to work with students on various projects. The students then get to go outside the classroom and work with local partners in their settings.
“Teaching the manufacturing mindset is part of the process,” said CCTC AMP teacher Keith Hale. “This program is project-based education. We start with a product. We start with a project. We want to design this project.
“Then we bring in the education we need for that particular skill,” he said. “Then we move on to the next thing. We also talk about quality control, and lean manufacturing, eliminating waste.
“One of our first projects is a birdhouse,” he said. “Manufacturing is about coming up with a design, and perfecting that design, then being able to make 16 birdhouses that are exactly the same and fit together with precision.
“You don’t want any variation,” he said. “You don’t want any waste. You don’t want any mistakes. You want what you pay for.”
Hale said the goal is to get students ready for career internships during their senior year with the came businesses they worked with in the classroom.
“That career internship literally could allow them to walk right into a job that has benefits and future opportunities,” he said. “If these students go out and our employed and making money and contributing to the county, everybody wins. All of these factors are a part of this program.”
Joining the community members at the open house were the businesses partnering with the AMP program. The businesses stretch beyond Caroline County, including Hinckley Yachts in Oxford.
“Having young talent that comes into our industry is very important,” Elliot Anderson of Hinckley Yachts. “This program helps develop, not only from the tangible skill sets for working on boats, but also the skill sets to be a better person at a whole like communication and teamwork.”
Dart Container in Federalsburg is one of the Caroline County businesses partnering with the AMP program.
“The program is one we are happy to be a part of because the students get the opportunity to learn skills we are looking for when we hire new employees,” Bill Condon of Dart Container. “Not everyone needs to go to college, and students in the program can gain an advantage by learning these skills and gaining experience while in high school.”
Tanglewood Conservatories President Alan Stein joined the open house and said he has high hopes for the AMP program.
“There are tremendous career opportunities that do really interesting things, that pay really well and provide a really great lifestyle that allow you to stay in this community,” he said. “There are many great things that happen in Caroline County and on the Eastern Shore.”
For more information about the Untangled Minds organization, visit www.untangledminds.org.
Untangled Minds Vice President Josh Zimmerman, left, Tanglewood Conservatories President Alan Stein, Tanglewood Marketing Administrator Nicole Mihalos and AMP teacher Keith Hale standing together during an open house Thursday, Jan. 18, about the new...
Joe Anderson of Combined Technology Solutions in Ridgely is one of the local partners for the new Advanced Manufacturing and Production Professionals (AMP) educational program for Caroline County Public Schools.
Dart Container in Federalsburg is one of the local partners for the new Advanced Manufacturing and Production Professionals (AMP) educational program for Caroline County Public Schools.
Hinckley Yachts in Oxford is one of the local partners for the new Advanced Manufacturing and Production Professionals (AMP) educational program for Caroline County Public Schools.