Washburn Tech’s M-Tech program offers new training initiative

Washburn Tech Student Government Association is hosting a Toys for Tots Build Day beginning at 8 a.m., Dec. 7, in the Cabinet and Mill lab in Building L at 5724 S.W. Huntoon St.Students, technical instructors and volunteers plan to make 400 toys consisting of wooden step stools, wooden beat box drums with drum sticks and hobby horses.

Washburn Tech’s second session of the new training program, manufacturing technology, also known as M-Tech, began Feb. 18. 

Washburn Tech developed the program with the help of several local manufacturing and production facilities such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mars Chocolate North America, Frito-Lay, Bimbo Bakeries and Del Monte. 

The program offers pre-hire training that will ultimately lead to certification for participating, successful students as certified production technicians. 

It was also developed in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Commerce. It is targeted at individuals that are either unemployed or underemployed seeking to gain the skills or training specifically needed in the manufacturing and production field.

“M-Tech provides training that is specifically targeted to meet the needs of our area manufacturers,” said Clark Coco, dean of Washburn Tech. “Adults can complete this training quickly and be prepared for quality jobs while local companies remain competitive with a skilled workforce.”

The M-Tech program is a hands-on, intensive training program that operates the same as an average work day. Classes operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and run between four and eight weeks. 

The courses offered are forklift operation; maintenance awareness; manufacturing processes/production; and quality, safety and workplace skills. The program gives students the opportunity to meet local hiring managers and learn what it is like to be out on the production floor. Students are also guaranteed an interview by one of the cooperating companies.

“Floor Technicians work on the floor and are responsible for making fast, important decisions,” said Luci Zieman, recruiter for Washburn Tech University. “As a technician it is your responsibility to keep the line running.”

Individuals who are interested in participating in the M-Tech program should first visit either the Topeka Workforce Center or inquire by phone by contacting Gina Coffman at 235-1622. Next, contact Zieman at Washburn Tech, 670-2373, and ask for an M-Tech application. 

A commerce scholarship is available to eligible students. Pre-assessment tests will be given to determine every student’s skill level before beginning. Classes start every other week.

“This project will support a robust Kansas economy by preparing workers with the skills required by business,” said Pat George, secretary of Kansas Department of Commerce.“We are excited to support local prosperity with the first Workforce AID pilot project for these excellent Topeka regional companies.”