Archive for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Education focus: JCCC partners with Clorox for on-site manufacturing courses

July 22, 2015

Johnson County Community College is working on-site with manufacturers, tailoring their classes to suit their needs.

This fall, the school will launch their second group of classes, called Machine Operator Training, at A & M Products in Spring Hill, Kansas, said Program Director Tony Lacy. The plant manufactures Clorox kitty litter, he said.

Earlier this spring the school held two preliminary classes at the plant, Plant Manager Chris Holt said. In total, 19 students, who are also A & M employees, completed the courses.

"We got feedback on their thoughts and things they liked and didn't and met with Johnson County Community College administration to adjust for the next program."

A second batch of classes is expected to begin in September, Holt said.

This is Johnson County Community College's first series of on-site classes conducted in conjunction with a company like Clorox, but others like it are sure to follow, Lacy said.

"It's something we've been hearing from the industry for a while. Some of the larger companies come to us looking for a program like this," he said. "(The students) are existing employees for Clorox, operators who have been there anywhere from a short time to many years."

Holt said the company was pleased with the results of the first batch of classes and over the next 12 months it is Clorox's goal to have another 60 employees complete the courses.

"We recognized that investing in our people is a way to drive our continued business success," he said. "And to keep investing in the community that we live and work in."

Topics like introductions to manufacturing, quality operations, maintenance awareness, teamwork, safety and basic math and computer skills will all be addressed within the tailor-made class for Clorox, Lacy said.

The overarching goal of the course is to better communication between plant employees using the facility itself as a learning environment, Lacy said. This way students can directly apply class material to their current positions.

"Part of what they're doing here is to reduce the amount of down time and give them background on maintenance and awareness," Lacy said. "It will give operators more information on maintenance so they can communicate better with maintenance staff. It reduces down time, keeps equipment in better repair and they'll have better teamwork because everybody will be communicating with the same type of language."

In addition to smoothing out plant operations the classes will give employees transferable and practical knowledge of the field, Lacy said.

"It's a benefit to the employees because they're getting more training that can be added to their resumes," he said.

Course instructors will also test students on their knowledge before and after the classes, Lacy said. This way the school has some insight on what students are learning and if adjustments need to be made to the class.

Currently the courses are not open to the public, but anyone interested in participating can contact Lacy at (913) 469-2460 for more information.

As the Clorox class continues to grow, Lacy said the school will reach out to other area companies, offering on-site and tailor-made classes for their needs.

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