Thinking Ahead

Recently, an Ontario, New York, machine tool builder and distributor donated a Nakamura-Tome lathe valued at $200,000 to Finger Lake Community College G.W. Lisk Company’s advanced manufacturing machinist training program.

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The Nakamura-Tome AS-200L lathe is provided by OptiPro Systems for the Finger Lakes Community College-G.W. Lisk Co. advanced manufacturing machinist training program.

Many companies are seriously thinking about their workforce demographics, and some are doing something about it. Recently, an Ontario, New York, machine tool builder and distributor, OptiPro Systems, donated a Nakamura-Tome lathe valued at $200,000 to Finger Lake Community College - G.W. Lisk Co.’s advanced manufacturing machinist training program. 

Don Miller, technical sales engineer for OptiPro, says he understands the value of advanced training and its need to train on advanced equipment. “Because of a lack of academic resources, business and academia need work as partners to provide well trained workers. Everybody needs to be a winner,” Mr. Miller says.

“It’s tough to dedicate a sophisticated machine tool to just training,” says Dave Phillips, G.W. Lisk’s training manager. Modern machine tools are so sophisticated and expensive that taking them out of production can be cost prohibitive. Placing the machine in a dedicated training facility solves the in-production issue and allows the students more hands-on time.

A regional, tri-lateral partnership such as this may well be a harbinger for the future as manufacturing proactively addresses the skilled worker shortage. According to Scott Cummings, director at G.W. Lisk, about 20 percent of his workforce will reach retirement age within five years.