AMP pro­gram build­ing skilled work­force

Un­tan­gled Minds, Tan­gle­wood Conser va­to­ries host open house

Times-Record - - Front Page - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

— 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.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

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...

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

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.

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