Dial Up? What’s That?

Posted By: Therese M. Schustrich, Account Executive, Workforce Education, Tooling U-SME on February 18, 2016

It’s amazing to look back and see just how far technology has come in a few short years.
I was reminded of this recently when talking with our friends (and long-time customers) over at Ogden-Weber Tech College in Ogden, Utah. Back in 2004, responding to local employer need for a strong pipeline of manufacturing workers, the school placed a bold bet on technology. They introduced online training as part of a blended learning approach.
As Bret Holmes, machinist coordinator and instructor, reminded us, “Back in 2004, there was no T-1 connection – it was all dial up.”
That meant students could only take Tooling U-SME online classes in the classroom.
“Now students are taking classes at home, on their smartphones, and on their tablets,” said Bret.
Nearly 12 years ago, the only tablets we knew were made of lined paper. How much has changed!
For Ogden-Weber Tech College, too. Today, the school serves 6,000 students annually, some coming from as far away as Hawaii and South Carolina. And, applause, please: Ogden-Weber Tech College boasts a job placement rate of 94 percent.
Technology advances are great news for the manufacturing industry.
When it comes to online courses, the technology offers 24/7 access from practically anywhere, which works well for busy traditional and non-traditional students, as well as employees who are upgrading their skills. (Some employers allow workers to take online classes right on the shop floor while waiting out routine downtime.)
Access to an online curriculum also ensures students are learning the most progressive techniques and practices.
As Bret said, “We tell students that what they are seeing on the screen is what is going on in industry right now. Everything you see on that screen is like opening a brand new book every time you turn it on.”
Still as overall technology continues to advance quickly, it can present challenges for innovative manufacturers who need skilled workers to operate new machinery.
With the increasing talent gap, it is more critical than ever to provide ongoing training for incumbent workers as well as focus on bringing incoming employees quickly up to speed.
Fortunately, schools like Ogden-Weber Tech College are graduating proficient and confident students who can help.
As Bret said, “We know we are offering a quality education when manufacturers say our students are well prepared and trainable within three days of starting.”
-- Therese Schustrich, Government & Education Group, Tooling U-SME

Tags: "learning and development", manufacturing, "Ogden-Weber Tech College", "online training", technology, "training program"