Monthly Archives: August 2017

Building the future at the new Center for Manufacturing Excellence

Just as it evolved from individual skilled artisans producing crafts in the home to the efficient assembly lines of Henry Ford, manufacturing continues to adapt to meet modern technology and consumer needs. Today, the manufacturing industry is seeking workers with technical, communication and problem-solving skills. Manufacturers and educators must work together to prepare the region’s current and future workforces.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing industry supports an estimated 17.6 million jobs in the U.S. – about one in six in the private sector – with more than 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) directly employed in manufacturing.

As the industry continues to evolve, the growth of robotic automation is driving a shift in the workforce.

“Whether it is robotics, or whether it’s something that’s dealing with life science or medical devices, there’s no unskilled jobs any longer,” said Rodger Curtis, Director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economics Development. “Every one of these jobs requires – first of all – a fascination with making things, which we’re very good at here in Michigan, but it also takes some post-high school degree training. Whether it’s certification, an apprenticeship, an associate’s degree, or whether it’s on-the-job training. These are well-paying jobs. They’re jobs that have an unlimited potential for advancement both with the career and within education.”

Robotics and other modern technologies allow domestic manufacturers to remain cost-competitive while keeping operations in the U.S., helping to halt a decades-long trend of outsourcing operations to offshore companies. As robotics grows, the industry finds itself in desperate need of well-trained workers.

Workers with specialized education and skills are vital to the state’s manufacturing success, particularly in key areas like the auto industry, which relies heavily on engineering talent to innovate new products and production processes.

To help educate this new generation of manufacturing experts, LCC began development of its Center for Manufacturing Excellence, or CME, in the spring of 2015. An initial grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation allowed the college to purchase new technology and create a space necessary to meet the growing demand for highly skilled automation technicians in the area.

The grant enabled LCC to modify its labs and expand its overall learning space at its West Campus from 14,000 square feet to nearly 27,000 square feet – including a new robotics and automation lab.

The building’s sleek and informative schematic design utilizes digital displays throughout to tie together the different elements of the manufacturing process with interactive tours for students and the community.

The exterior entrance, for example, features a futuristic robotic sculpture and glass walls that serve as windows into the high-tech robotics lab.

The new CME will create qualified workers ready to join manufacturers in Michigan and around the globe. More than 82 percent of manufacturers have reported moderate to serious shortages of skilled talent – a gap President Brent Knight said the new CME will help close.

“As Michigan’s skilled workers retire, and advances in technology continue, we will depend highly on the specialized workforce,” Knight said. “In planning for the college’s new Center for Manufacturing Excellence, we assembled an advisory board of 35 area industry leaders to ensure incorporation of cutting-edge technical tools and training for in-demand jobs.”

The CME offers training in precision machining; computer automated design, or CAD; welding; and robotics; and gives students hands-on experience in a new, state-of-the-art robotics and automation lab.

This new high-tech lab brings LCC into the company of an elite few colleges offering a dedicated robotics facility. Students entering this program will train on a flexible manufacturing line, featuring FANUC™ and ABB™ robots.

“This new facility offers cutting-edge lab space to train students in a collaborative environment that combines robotics, hydraulics and automation systems,” LCC Dean of Technical Careers Mark Cosgrove said.

The equipment and facility is comparable to those found in some of the largest manufacturing facilities around the globe, which have become increasingly popular as companies use robotics to optimize production and stay competitive.

In addition to the specialized robotics labs, the space also includes an open collaboration area, classrooms with views into the robotics lab, offices for faculty members, a precision machining and CAD lab, and a welding area featuring virtual welders.

Students entering any of these programs can choose to get a basic certification in less than a year or complete an associate’s degree in two years. With high demand for skilled workers in the greater Lansing area and around the nation, students are often recruited before they even complete these programs.

Training at LCC helps students better position themselves for a future with a higher quality of work and better compensation.

“They are fantastic jobs. You have to be smart, you have to be educated, you have to know what you’re doing to work with the kind of equipment that we are,” former CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Steve Arwood said. “It is very high-tech and it will only continue to get more high-tech as technology continues to get into this process.”

This is an excerpt of an article that will appear in Greater Lansing Business Monthly’s September magazine.

Michigan Public Schools Reform 2017 – service credit purchase deadline and frequently asked questions

On July 13, 2017, the governor signed into law Public Act 92 of 2017, which made changes to the public school employees’ retirement plan. An email notification summarizing the Michigan Public Schools Reform 2017 was sent on Aug. 7 to LCC employees who are MPSERS participants. Included in the notice was the following message:

Active employees who were first hired before July 1, 2010, will be unable to initiate a service credit purchase after 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 29, 2017.If you wish to make a purchase, you must make a payment to the Office of Retirement Services or submit a completed Tax Deferred Payment (TDP) Agreement with Lansing Community College before the closing date.

Since the notification of the new law change, employees have had many questions as to how the new laws will affect their MPSERS retirement plan. In hopes of providing clarification to all employees, here is a list of the top eight questions and answers.

1. What impact does PA 92 have on Pension Plus members hired on or after July 1, 2010 and before Sept. 4, 2012?
PA 92 does not change the benefits or requirements for receiving a pension and retiree healthcare for Pension Plus members.

2. What impact does PA 92 have on Pension Plus members hired on or after Sept. 4, 2012 and before Feb. 1, 2018?
PA 92 does not change the benefits or requirements for receiving a pension and retiree healthcare for Pension Plus members.

3. Can current Pension Plus members elect to switch to the DC plan?
No. All elections are final and irrevocable.

4. What impact does PA 92 have for employees who elected the DC plan hired on or after Sept. 4, 2012?
Employees hired after Sept. 4, 2012 who chose the DC plan will have new DC employer contribution and DC employer match amounts mandated by PA 92. A mandatory employer contribution of 4% will start in the first pay period with a record begin date on or after Oct. 1, 2017. New DC employer matching contributions will begin with the first full pay period with a record begin date on or after Feb. 1, 2018. Employers will match 100% of employee contributions up to a maximum of 5%. The first 2% of the employer match will go into the employee’s Personal Healthcare Fund (PHF).

5. What impact does PA 92 have for current active Basic or MIP members?
Only service credit purchases are affected. Basic or MIP members who wish to buy service credit must do so by 5 p.m. EDT, Sept. 29, 2017. However, PA 92 still allows members to receive credit in the following situations:

  • Active duty military service credit purchase
  • Repayment of refunded pension contributions
  • Payment of missed contributions for weekly workers’ compensation from before July 1, 1992.
  • MIP contributions not paid to the retirement system during the MIP conversion in the 1990s.
  • The above options can still be completed through the TDP process.

6. What if an employee has not made a new hire election?
The current election process has not changed and they are still able to make an election within the 75-day window to Pension Plus or the modified Defined Contribution plan.

7. What impact does PA 92 have on the pension and/or healthcare for current retirees?
PA 92 does not change the benefits or requirements for receiving a pension and retiree healthcare for current retirees.

8. What impact does PA 92 have on retiree healthcare benefits?
The new law has no impact on retiree healthcare benefit options.

Please request your Member Billing Statement from the Office of Retirement Services quickly if you are interested in purchasing service credit before the Sept. 29, 2017 deadline. Time is running out!

More information regarding the Michigan Public Schools Reform 2017 can be found at michigan.gov/orsschools. Please direct your questions to the Payroll Department at x1799 or FS-Payroll@lcc.edu or the Office of Retirement Services at (800) 381-5111.

Welcome Week lineup designed to create fun campus atmosphere

Welcome Week kicks off Saturday, Aug. 26 with a family day on the Mall, and continues through the first week of classes.

Students will be greeted by employee volunteers wearing bright orange, who will welcome them onto campus, help them find classes and parking, and tell them about college resources. The week will also include daily activities to introduce students to the college, provide free food and giveaways, and create a fun atmosphere.

The week’s signature event is Party with the Prez, held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30 on the Mall. President Brent Knight will be on hand, and students can get free lunch, enjoy games and live music with friends, and snag T-shirts and other freebies. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The week will also feature a resource fair, open houses, a student employment fair, events at West Campus and the extension centers, and more. Find the full schedule at lcc.edu/welcomeweek.

Last chance! Kick off the school year as a Welcome Week parking guide

Help give our students a great start to the semester by volunteering your time as a parking guide at the Downtown Campus during Welcome Week Aug. 24-31.

Interested? Here are your next steps:

1. Check the schedule of available time slots at O:\Interdivisional\LCC-Welcome-Week. Based on your feedback, we decreased the length of time for each shift this year.

2. Check with your supervisor to be sure you can be away from your regular work station at that time.

3. Email WelcomeWeek@lcc.edu with:

  • Your name
  • Your department
  • Your preferred dates and times
  • Your T-shirt size. Every volunteer will receive one T-shirt per day of volunteering.
  1. Attend a volunteer training in the Administration Building Boardroom addressing student needs and wayfinding changes at the college. Available times include:
  • 1-2 p.m. today, Aug. 17
  • 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22
  1. Show up with a smiling face to get our students ready for success this fall!

    Not on the Downtown Campus but interested in helping? Contact:

Follow along with the action on social media at #LCCWelcomeWeek, and be sure to thank the LCC Foundation Board and donors for their generous support of the festivities.

LCC East Expo to be held Aug. 25

Join us for the LCC East Campus Expo to learn more about opportunities for you and your family 3-7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 at LCC East. Admission is free and you can enjoy:

  • Watercolor painting, building Lego and Sphero robots, live animals, fingerprinting, and more class demos for all ages
  • Exploring career advancement options in pre-health, business, social science and computer information technology (CIT)
  • Star customer service for your financial aid, admissions and registration questions, and in-person enrollment assistance
  • Community organizations and businesses highlighting local educational and enrichment resources
  • Chances to win a prizes, score freebies, and complementary food and beverages

Learn more and RSVP at lcc.edu/eastexpo.

Register now for 2017 OER Summit at Kellogg Community College

Following the successful OER Summit hosted by LCC in February 2017, Michigan Colleges Online is pleased to announce the 2017 MI OER Summit – a gathering of OPEN enthusiasts and those who are interested and eager to learn, network and advocate. It will be held Friday, Sept. 22 at the Kellogg Community College Binda Performing Arts Center in Battle Creek. For more information please visit the MCO OER Summit page. Registration is $40 and includes breakfast and lunch. Registration ends Sept. 15.

This event is open to all who are interested in open education, OER and open pedagogy. The keynote speaker is Dr. Robin DeRosa, professor and chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University. There’s also a great lineup of presentations from LCC educators and other Michigan community college faculty, librarians, administrators and instructional designers engaged in open education.

If you need more information regarding this event, please contact Regina Gong, OER Project Manager and member of the MCO OER Planning Committee at x1663 or gongr1@lcc.edu.

Help get students ready for class with school supply, food pantry donations

Help prepare our students for the school year by donating school supplies for Student Life’s Welcome Week supply giveaway and food and toiletry essentials to the Stars Helping Stars Food Pantry.

Student Life is asking for donations of pens and pencils, note cards, highlighters and pocket folders. They will give these away to any student who needs them during Welcome Week. Drop off your donations to the Student Life office in the Gannon Building.

The food pantry is looking for single microwave meals, juice pouches, fruit and pudding cups, single packs of crackers and cheese or crackers and peanut butter, single bags of chips, tuna and cracker combos, chunky soups, canned pasta or chili meals, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, and four-packs of toilet paper.

These items are provided for students who would otherwise be on campus without necessary essentials or anything to eat. Drop off your donations to the Stars Helping Stars Food Pantry behind the Center for Student Support (formerly Campus Resources) desk in the StarZone.