Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manufacturing bulldozed; drafting classes reduced

Sharon Ho
Issue date : 11/9/09

The administration has recommended manufacturing and drafting programs for elimination or reduction in 2010-11, for an estimated savings of nearly $139,000.

Elimination of welding, manufacturing and machine tool technology programs will save the college an estimated $111,000 and reduction of drafting classes will save an estimated $28,000, according to the administration's recommended curriculum cuts.

Lilya Vorobey, an associate professor who teaches the affected classes, submitted a counter-proposal to the cuts on Oct. 30.

Vorobey proposed rebuilding the classes into an "arts of industry" program that would serve the industrial design manufacturing prevalent in Silicon Valley.

"We could create a program that would cater to the community and be able to build 'things' that help, such as playground equipment," wrote Vorobey in an e-mail to The San Matean.

Vorobey proposed the creation of a self-sufficient program, not unlike Petaluma High School's bench project which started in 2006.

"Their drafting and shop classes made over $100,000 in their first year, with the money put back into the programs," wrote Vorobey.

"The Petaluma High School project still supports the drafting and manufacturing classes. Materials can be donated and have been in the past."

"Garnering donations from industry to help with the formation of this community would be done concurrently," wrote Vorobey.

"The business department can help set up a not-for-profit business, and the digital media department can help create a website and produce fliers to promote and sell the products."

"People in the trade are constantly howling about their inability to find workers," wrote Vorobey.

"I get calls weekly looking for welders, machinists and drafters."

Baby Boomers are retiring from labs in this area, Vorobey explained. Only DeAnza College has a machine tool program that partially covers the skills required to work in the industry.

"In a 50-mile radius of the campus there are over 70 iron-working companies that require the skills taught in (Manufacturing 120)," Vorobey wrote.

The targeted classes serve CSM, CSU and Stanford students majoring in manufacturing, industrial design and engineering, wrote Vorobey.

They also serve re-trainees and engineers and architects from companies like HP, Intel, Adobe, Google and Apple.

"These are not people making bird houses or crafts," wrote Vorobey.

"These are people who design and build everyday things that we are surrounded by such as laptops, furniture, clothing, as well as machinery and buildings. We live in the West Coast hotbed of industrial design and no one on our campus knows this."

Vorobey refuted claims that the equipment is outdated and needs to be replaced.

"I have visited many prototype labs in the Bay Area," wrote Vorobey. "We have equipment that is equivalent or better than what most of them have. ... A designer from Google came to speak to my students and he was in awe of our labs."

Buildings 25 and 27, where manufacturing, welding and machine tool technology programs were held, do not meet current state earthquake regulation laws and have been scheduled for demolition, said Kathleen Ross, dean of business and technology.

There are no buildings that meet safety standards needed to house necessary machines and equipment, Ross said.

"We have a special situation," said Ross. "This is even worse than having no money. We don't even have a building to run these programs."

"The strategy is to keep the programs on hiatus in order to keep the equipment," wrote Vorobey. "We can store the equipment at the airport for $1 per year. City College has programs running at the airport, which would be a possible program relocation site."

"Drafting classes will be going through compression, like a sponge," said Ross. "Software licensing is expensive. Previously, we ran all classes each semester. From fall 2010 onwards, only DRAF 120, 121 and 122 classes will be held every semester while other classes are rotated."

"Drafting is a useful tool for students who want to major in engineering, architecture, horticulture and interior designing," said Ross.

Students who are aiming for an associate of science degree in drafting will still be able to get all their required classes in a typical four-semester college education plan, Ross said.

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