YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The ribbon was cut Tuesday afternoon for the new machine lab of Eastern Gateway Community College — operated from rented space at the Choffin Career and Technical Center of the Youngstown City Schools.
This is where Eastern Gateway students still study for the schools’ new associates degree in machining.
“The door’s pretty much open,” said Ryan Pasco, project manager. “They can go into any kind of machining program not only here but pretty much nationwide.”
The lab is stocked with 19 new machines — some controlled by computers, some manual. The $1.5 million to build the lab came from the Federal Government’s Department of Labor.
Among those at Tuesday’s event was Brain Benyo, CEO of Brilex Industries, who was impressed with what he saw.
“We have not had anything close to this in the level of technology — state of the art technology — in machining anywhere in the valley,” Benyo said. “And frankly, I think this program would rival anywhere in the country. ”
The lab will be used only by Eastern Gateway students. But the students at Choffin could benefit by the experience.
“We have a high school machining class right next door,” said Joe Meranto, director of Choffin Career and Technical Center. “That’s going to continue. And if the kids want to pursue advanced manufacturing, they would hopefully sign up to attend right next door at Eastern Gateway Community College.”
“We look out five and 10 years,” Benyo said. “Just the need of replacement of retiring employees will be a tremendous demand.”
Choffin was chosen because of its proximity to Eastern Gateway’s downtown school.
And because the building met the needs of something as extensive as a machine shop school.
“We did check out a few other locations throughout the course of the time,” Pasco said. “But unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, none of those have actually worked out for us and this has been a perfect fit.”