Northeast's new manufacturing club develops special pen holder project

by amandab  1/10/2017 11:05:31 AM --  NORFOLK - While most any college bookstore sells textbooks, t-shirts, and school supplies, the Hawks Shop at Northeast Community College on the Norfolk campus is selling a special item created by its own students.

Members of the Hawks Manufacturing Club at Northeast are currently selling solid aluminum pen holders embellished with the Northeast logo. The manufacturing club, which was formed this fall, adopted the pen holders as their first project to manufacture. Profits from the sale of the items will go back to the club.

Steve Wagner, Northeast instructor and manufacturing club advisor, said the project offered the students a great opportunity to practice their entrepreneurship skills as they worked to define the manufacturing processes, determine material usage and calculate machine cycle times, all while watching costs in order to create a marketable item.

“Cost of manufacturing plus profit margin played into their analysis of retail and wholesale pricing,” he said. “I was very pleased to watch how they worked through these issues in creating a profitable enterprise.”

The students used Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) equipment to process the various stages of the pen holders’ manufacturing process as well as precision measuring instruments that are used in a first semester course of study in Northeast’s diversified manufacturing technology program.

“I was impressed by (the students’) willingness to jump right into this project, especially being in their first semester of the program,” said Wagner.

In Northeast’s diversified manufacturing technology program, students gain knowledge, skills and abilities applicable to numerous manufacturing industries through classroom instruction and hands-on lab experiences. Students acquire skills in welding, fabrication, precision measurement, machining and operation and programming of computerized manufacturing technologies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing field suffers from a skills gap, as employers struggle to fill positions with qualified candidates. As many as 2.3 percent of jobs in the Midwest, including Nebraska, remained unfilled.

Wagner said several other Northeast-themed items made by the club may be offered at the Hawks Shop in the spring.

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PHOTO CUTLINE - Manufacturing Club 

 

Pen holders sit on a display shelf at the Hawks Shop at Northeast Community College’s Norfolk campus. Made of solid aluminum, the pen holders were developed as a special fundraising project by Northeast’s Hawks Manufacturing Club.  (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

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