Advanced manufacturing is critical to our economy and advanced composite materials have been identified as one of the most important technologies for advanced manufacturing, with equally critical impact on national security applications.
According to a 2011 report 51% of the U.S. manufacturing workforce demand is for skilled production workers and 46% for scientists and engineers, while only 7% is for unskilled production workers. However, a workforce deficit has developed as 47% of U.S. manufacturing workers have not completed education beyond high school.
Abaris Training and the University of Nevada, Reno take a step to span this gap, forming a unique partnership between private small business and public higher education to deliver training that takes high school and college graduates with no prior knowledge of composites, and provides industry with workers possessing both the technical knowledge and practical skill to produce high-quality parts using advanced composite materials and processes. The approach is three intensive five-day courses offered by the University of Nevada, Reno Extended Studies, held at the Abaris location in Reno. Each course may be taken independently or consecutively, with completion of all three required for the University of Nevada, Reno certificate in Advanced Composite Manufacturing.
Abaris Training draws from its 30-year history of providing advanced composite training to students worldwide at its facilities in Nevada, Georgia, the UK and Brazil, as well as those of its customers (for example, Boeing, GKN, Lockheed, ATK and NASA), to offer a combination of technical classroom information and practical skills development through hands-on labs, both to the highest standard of accuracy and industry best practices. Students spend up to 60% of each class working with real materials and processes — such as prepregs, machining equipment and infusion processing set-ups — in cleanrooms, trim rooms, process and assembly areas which give students experience in typical industry facilities.
“These courses will play a pivotal role in helping to strengthen Nevada’s workforce capabilities in aviation and aerospace manufacturing and repair,” said Steve Hill, executive director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “Because of this partnership with Abaris, UNR is now the only four-year college to offer a manufacturing certificate program such as this.”
According to the American Composite Manufacturer’s Association, U.S. composites manufacturing is a $25 billion-a-year industry with 5,000-7,000 manufacturing plants and materials distributors employing more than 236,000 people and an additional 250,000 people employed in supporting businesses, such as materials suppliers, equipment vendors and service companies.