Robotics and Machining Program Win Remodeling, Construction, Sage Products Offer Dismissed for Time Being

To create “a talent pipeline to replace the workers that are currently retiring…in the highly technical
field of manufacturing,” the McHenry County College Board voted 5-2 at its Thursday Board meeting to approve over $2.3 million in remodeling and construction of new space.

A last-minute alternative was brought up by newly-elected Trustee Tom Wilbeck as a result of his and Board President Ron Parrish’s three-hour visit with Vince Foglia and Vince Foglia, Jr., at their Sage Products plant in Cary.

During a visit to Sage Products by MCC Trustees Ron Parrish and Tom Wilbeck, Vince Foglia and his son expressed interest in allowing the college to run its robotics program in their plant.

During a visit to Sage Products by MCC Trustees Ron Parrish and Tom Wilbeck, Vince Foglia and his son expressed interest in allowing the college to run its robotics program in their plant.

Referring to the cost of President Vicky Smith’s proposal, Wilbeck observed, “It’s growing by the presentation.”

Wilbeck argued that “more of a conversation with the end users was needed.”

Talking with the Foglias led Wilbeck to the knowledge that “the robots have to be torn down and rebuilt every year” and that “the software is done remotely.”

“They claim to be the largest robotics user in the county [with] thirty-four technicians and need more,” Parish said.

He conveyed an offer for the college to run the robotics program in space at Sage.

They would “help us teach [students and allow them to] learn to apply in a broader context than we could do on our own.”

In addition, the Foglias offered “ancillary equipment, a real, real experience, jobs and interest in talking to us about internships…exactly what we’re wanting to do here.”

Parish reported the message he got was, “Nobody’s talked to us

“I’d just like us to explore one more alternative–

  • space
  • training
  • internships
  • ancillary equipment

Parish contended that the two programs–machine tooling and robotics–were being combined “out of necessity.”

He also pointed out that the Federal grant of $500,000 was “really $380,000.

“We could much more than that if we worked in a more cooperative way with Sage.

“I’m not ready to vote on it.”

“This isn’t something we’ve done overnight,” former Board President Mary Miller said. “I’m a little take back at what you and Mr. Wilbeck have [done].”

“I’m educating myself,” Wilbeck replied.

“I have a lot of manufacturing clients crying for this,” the CPA Miller continued.

“It’s upsetting.  There’s a reason why we need the program here.”

“It seems to me it should be here,” added newly-elected Board member Molly Walsh.

“I’m concerned that other people won’t come.”

Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith

President Vicky Smith was next.

“We’ve been meeting with manufacturers for the last two years and Sage has been at these meetings. It is possible the people coming to our meetings was the Operations Manager or the Human Resources Manager. [You were talking to people] higher in the food chain.

“This project has robotics component and a machining component.

“We have to serve both of them.

“We have been meeting separately with the plastics and the manufacturing people. We can invite them.”

Smith pointed out that the machine tool would be in the space where the Black Box [Theater] is.

Trustee Linda Liddell pointed out that there was “a time element with the grant.”

“We have to start by this fall,” Smith told the Board.

Molly Walsh and Ron Parrish did not agree on waiting to see what role Sage Products could play in the robotics program.

Molly Walsh and Ron Parrish did not agree on waiting to see what role Sage Products could play in the robotics program.

Speaking to Parish, Walsh said, “The project you are proposing would only take care of half of it.”

“I don’t want to put a half a million dollars at a third party location. It’s like moving nursing equipment to a hospital.

“We’re already doing student teaching on some manufacturing equipment,” she added.

Heather Zaccagnini, who is in charge of the program, noted, “We have internships already. We do it completely on site for Scott Forge.

“If Sage would partner with us, it would be fantastic.”

“I find it helpful to come to my teachers when I need help,” Student Trustee Michele Lambert observed.

“I feel it would be a really big distraction [to have classes off site].”

“If we go through with the recommendation, will Sage still get the pool of people with the training they need?” Trustee Chris Jenner asked.

“Internship is really low risk,” Zaccagnini answered.

When the roll was called, Parrish and Wilbeck voted, “No.”

Contacted after the meeting, Wilbeck said,

“I would like to continue working with the Sage folks. It looks like we will have to add that to the curriculum.The $2mil addition was passed 5-2. At this time I don’t see a compromise.”


Comments

Robotics and Machining Program Win Remodeling, Construction, Sage Products Offer Dismissed for Time Being — 6 Comments

  1. I think more local businesses should be working with MCC to identify job shortages, according to industry, as a way of promoting employment in Mchenry County.

    Then students will receive training in the arena they are most likely to be employed…..

  2. Duncan, your comment makes simply too much common sense!

    MCC staff will do everything possible to make sure that does not happen because they would lose some control!

    Better to spend time teaching basket weaving.

  3. Miller’s comment to Parrish is very telling: “I’m a little taken back at what you and Mr. Wilbeck have done.”

    Tom Wilbeck and Ron Parrish independently sought information, sought to educate themselves, sought alternatives.

    This is EXACTLY what trustees SHOULD do.

    But Miller is opposed to trustees seeking information on their own instead of simply accepting whatever he’s told as gospel.

    We have more housecleaning to do at MCC in 2015 and in 2017.

  4. Do not lump MCC instructors with the conversations reporter here between the administration and the board.

    Heather has INCREDIBLE relationships and respect from the manufacturing community.

    She works with her constituency and is well respected.

    My guess is that the student trustee has never taken a class that is even remotely related to any manufacturing or business class.

    It would be a “distraction” to work hands on in a manufacturing environment to study manufacturing??

    Seriously????

    I hope they figure this out.

  5. No its not a distraction or a waste of time.

    As an executive recruiter working with manufacturing companies across the country and from around the globe, working hands on is the way to go…..

    Trade schooled candidates often times make more money than 4 year college educated students.

    For example, one of my candidates was making 90K per year and was hired by one of my clients and is now making 130K per year.

    The candidate went to trade school and never attended college for the purpose of receiving a 4 year degree…..

    The candidate received the highest increase in salary than I have ever seen in all the years I have worked as a recruiter…..

    Learning manufacturing is an opportunity that all students should participate in.

    Even if their dream is to receive a 4 year degree and walk a different path……

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