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Casting in college: colleges with metalcasting-focused curriculum need support from the industry to ensure they remain on track.

When hiring new employees, metalcasters sometimes turn to recent college graduates. But much like manufacturing-centric education on the high school level, metalcasting-specific education for college-level students is struggling. While many education programs exist for students interested in metalcasting, the critical research funds required to support these programs today may not be there tomorrow.

"As much as we would like to say our job is teaching, part of the problem is that state budgets have shifted money out of education to things like Medicaid," said Prof. Von Richards, Missouri Richards is a village in Vernon County, Missouri, United States. The population was 95 at the 2000 census. Geography
Richards is located at  (37.909847, -94.556910)GR1.
 Univ. of Science and Technology (MST See micro systems technology. ), Rolla, Mo. "To make up for the shortfall, school administrations have gradually privatized. So we live and die on research programs."

According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 Richards, the Robert V. Wolf Professor of Cast Metals at MST, he is one of the fortunate few "to have a named professorship" that states the university must fill his spot with a professor dedicated to metalcasting. But even the MST metalcasting program is only going to be around as long as the school "has a viable research program."

At MST, Richards said most professors teach three courses each semester se·mes·ter  
n.
One of two divisions of 15 to 18 weeks each of an academic year.



[German, from Latin (cursus) s
 in addition to conducting their research. To achieve tenure, MST professors must bring in $250,000 in research funds each year. Richards runs five research programs and assists with two others to meet his expected level.

According to Prof. Rradeep Rohatgi, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his university has suffered a financial crisis because the state no longer supplies funding for school technicians, forcing them to reduce experimental work.

"We are able to keep many students in our department through our research funding Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific research, in the areas of both "hard" science and technology and social science. The term often connotes funding obtained through a competitive process, in which potential research projects are evaluated and . We receive a large amount from work for the Army Research Lab and TACOM TACOM Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (US Army)
TACOM Tactical Communications
TACOM Tactical Command
TACOM Tank-Automotive and Armament Command
TACOM Theater Army Command
TACOM Tactical Army Command
TACOM Tactical Army COM
," he said.

For an industry in need of its next generation of leaders, this poses a significant dilemma. Research funding is available through the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, but successful research programs, like those in the nanotechnology and biomedical bi·o·med·i·cal
adj.
1. Of or relating to biomedicine.

2. Of, relating to, or involving biological, medical, and physical sciences.
 industries, require significant industry partnership, as well.

What About Education & Training?

Industry partnerships are important for both metalcasting research and education. Partnerships in research help provide the funds college-level programs need to operate, and partnerships in curriculum help shape the education to fit metalcasting's needs.

"Industry has to try to partner with universities and colleges and sit on advisory committees," said Prof. Brad Bowman, Mohawk College Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public college in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Mohawk also has campuses located in Brantford and Stoney Creek, as well as the Institute for Applied Health Sciences located at McMaster University. , Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. "Focus on the smaller colleges and universities that aren't looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 that big R&D project, but rather applied research. Colleges give a discipline to problem solving problem solving

Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error.
 and access to tools (testing equipment, modeling software, etc.) you may not have.

"As companies are becoming smaller, they are still asked to do more. Reaching out to colleges or universities to help fill the technical gap is becoming more and more important. I don't think metalcasters realize how much they really need technical help."

Prof. Russ Rosmait, Pittsburg State Univ., Pittsburg, Kan., said his program is highly focused on practical science.

"Any research we do is applied research (research work that is applied directly to industry practices)," he said. "Some research projects are pricey Pricey

Term used for an unrealistically low bid price or unrealistically high offer price.


pricey

Of, relating to, or being an unrealistically high offer. An offer to sell a security at $50 when the current market price is $47 is pricey.
 for a metalcasting facility, so we work with a company. They will design what they want to find out, and our students will do the work and research, often as part of a senior project."

From the education angle, partnerships can help colleges understand what the industry's needs are.

According to Bowman, Mohawk changed its program for metalcasting in September 2008. Previously, the school had a metalcasting technician's program and a materials technologist program with a heavy concentration on metalcasting. The difficulty was the industry could not hire that many students.

"A lot of courses were designed around big-industry models, and now the majority of metalcasters are smaller," said Bowman.

Mohawk looked at the engineering technologies area of study, including metalcasting, design and diecasting, and asked the industry what the ideal profile of a graduate was.

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"Turns out, they didn't just want someone with a metalcasting background," Bowman said. "They needed someone with skills in design, metallurgy metallurgy (mĕt`əlûr'jē), science and technology of metals and their alloys. Modern metallurgical research is concerned with the preparation of radioactive metals, with obtaining metals economically from low-grade ores, with , management and problem solving--more of a generic skill set; graduates are not hired just to be a [metalcasting] engineer any more."

The Mohawk mechanical engineering program (three-year course of study) became the basic platform for the new metalcasting program. It includes a core set of courses that all students take in design, quality assurance and project management, with separate streams to address various industries.

Pittsburg State offers two metalcasting-related degrees--manufacturing engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology. While there is no specific metalcasting degree, it is covered through a lecture and lab with additional courses offered in casting design, simulation and metallurgy/metallography.

Ready for Hire?

If a metalcaster is looking to hire a recent college graduate, the first resource often is one of the 24 accredited accredited

recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.


accredited herds
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g.
 or 10 affiliated Foundry A semiconductor manufacturer that makes chips for third parties. It may be a large chip maker that sells its excess manufacturing capacity or one that makes chips exclusively for other companies.  Educational Foundation schools (visit www.fefoffice.org for detailed information on the schools). While these schools all take different approaches to their "degrees in metalcasting," they typically offer varying levels of metalcasting-focused curriculum in their engineering programs.

"If a company is interested in recruiting, they need to be on campus, hold information sessions, attend campus career fairs, and incorporate co-ops and internships," Rosmait said. "Don't just call the school up looking for resumes.

"Many metalcasters do a poor job of following up. They drag their feet or don't offer a competitive package. In our area, metalcasters are competing against a big aerospace contingent, engineering consulting firms Noun 1. consulting firm - a firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee
consulting company

business firm, firm, house - the members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a
 and plastics."

According to Rohatgi, many students have a negative impression of metalcasting. "Companies need to bring in cutting edge technology," he said. "Students are interested in casting applications that solve energy or environmental problems. They are interested in the tools a [metalcaster] is using. They want high computational Having to do with calculations. Something that is "highly computational" requires a large number of calculations.  power, automation and good computer processing in a nice, clean surrounding."

Rosmait points out that metalcasters don't necessarily offer the low-paying jobs. He sees starting salaries in the middle of the salary range, sometimes even on the high scale. But metalcasting companies often wait too long to make a hire. Rosmait says the facility should be making decisions in November through January, rather than waiting until May. "You can't finalize fi·nal·ize  
tr.v. fi·nal·ized, fi·nal·iz·ing, fi·nal·iz·es
To put into final form; complete or conclude: "They have jointly agreed ...
 it in two weeks," he said.

According to all the professors interviewed for this story, great opportunities exist for metalcasters looking to secure the resources colleges can offer. The key is for metalcasters to understand these universities are multifaceted mul·ti·fac·et·ed  
adj.
Having many facets or aspects. See Synonyms at versatile.

Adj. 1. multifaceted - having many aspects; "a many-sided subject"; "a multifaceted undertaking"; "multifarious interests"; "the multifarious
 resources.

A MODERN CASTING Staff Report
COPYRIGHT 2009 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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