Center for Advanced Manufacturing to enhance economy, improve workforce

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 7:50 pm By Livi Stanford

EUSTIS — Finding the right worker with the ample skill set needed for his company has been an endeavor for Mike Soos. Soos, who owns Eagle Quality Components, a manufacturing company of precision machine components, said he often has to go out of the state, mainly up north, to find workers.

That will soon change as Lake Technical College received a legislative appropriation of $2.8 million to complete the construction of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing to train workers in manufacturing, machining and welding.

“It is very important,” Soos said. “We can get more skilled people around here, and more manufacturers will come to the area.” C.A. Vossberg, president of Electron Machine Corporation in Umatilla, said many of his workers are approaching retirement.

“I have to have a plan in place,” said Vossberg, who manufacturers specialized instruments that are used to measure the density or concentration of liquids as they are flowing through a pipeline.

The center will serve a critical purpose in helping Vossberg hire workers with specified skills. He hopes to hire more than 10 people.

Without the center, “We would have to do more on-the-job training,” he said.
County officials said the center is critical to the county’s manufacturing industry, which makes up 6.6 percent of the county workforce. The regional average is 5.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census.

The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is a partnership between Lake Technical College and the county. The center’s curriculum will be tailored to existing companies and companies the county hopes to target in light manufacturing, clean manufacturing and technology, according to county officials.

The 24,000 square-foot building will be located on the main campus in Eustis, and will be a combination of revitalized existing buildings and new construction. The space will allow Lake Tech to offer career training in the areas of machining, welding, fabrication, CNC programming and solid works.

The existing buildings have already been prepped for the renovation and the center is expected to open during spring 2017.