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Kristen Cyr
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Open house shines light on CCRI's
advanced manufacturing lab, programs

Oct. 3, 2014

Guests tour the newly upgraded manufacturing lab at CCRI’s Knight Campus in Warwick Friday as part of Manufacturing Day. Guests tour the newly upgraded manufacturing lab at CCRI’s Knight Campus in Warwick Friday as part of Manufacturing Day. View more photos from the event

The Engineering and Technology Department at the Community College of Rhode Island celebrated National Manufacturing Day on Friday with an open house in its manufacturing lab, which recently underwent substantial upgrades.

The college received a $378,965 Champlin Foundations grant to replace four vertical milling machines, four 14-inch lathes, four surface grinders and one drill press. Institutional funding and monies provided by the RIDE Perkins Grant also were used for the upgrades, said Dean of Business, Science and Technology Peter Woodberry.

More than 50 guests assembled in the lab during the three-hour open house, where they enjoyed refreshments while milling about and touring the facility, networking and learning about CCRI's new Introduction to CNC Manufacturing and CNC Manufacturing and 3-D Modeling certificate programs along the way.

Engineering and Technology Department chairman Jerry Bernardini speaks to a guest.Guests included CCRI faculty, staff and students and prospective students as well as representatives from the state manufacturing industry. Two of those on hand were Bruce Gileau and Larry Fox from Porter Machining in West Greenwich. As the two men looked over course materials, they spoke about what drew them to the open house.

"We're looking to train employees and get employees," said Gileau, who said that Porter Machining recently joined the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and heard about the event. He added that training programs were crucial for creating the type of skilled machinists Porter needs. "These courses will help them get their feet wet," he said.

Student Dan Chappell of Warwick said he came to the event to network with representatives from local industry. Chappell said he is underemployed in the industry, and began to take the CNC certificate program courses in order to upgrade his skills and become more well-rounded. "The classes have been a lot of fun so far," he said.

Assistant Professor Ray Ankrom speaks to visitors.Chappell's enthusiasm was matched by Assistant Professor Ray Ankrom, who teaches in the department. Ankrom said that the recent upgrades to the college's lab brought CCRI into the 21st century. "Some of the equipment in here was made in February and March. We're building up our student base, and events like this allow us to talk to companies and see what they're looking for in our students. It's an exciting time; we're just imagining the possibilities," he said.

Those possibilities were certainly on the mind of Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gregory Lamontagne as he surveyed the lab, saying that the curriculum the upgrades makes possible is "able to give students more opportunities to become highly skilled," adding that new students could benefit just as much as lifelong learners looking to add to their credentials or transfer on to other institutions.

After guests mingled for an hour, taking a tour of the facility and learning about the technology and programs available, college President Ray Di Pasquale briefly addressed the assembled crowd, congratulating the Engineering and Technology Department and industry partners alike with moving CCRI's manufacturing programs forward.

"We can all stand here very proud of the fact that the college has done this, and that we can be a part of making our state stronger," he said.

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Last Updated: 8/25/16