Published December 31, 2006
Jim and John Vyhidal, Quality Director and Vice President, respectively, for Tri-V Tool & Manufacturing kept running into the Mechatronics Education Center (MEC). They shared time on the Industrial Manufacturing Systems and Engineering subcommittee of FutureForce Nebraska and met again in a manufacturing pilot program for technical training issues with manufacturers, Nebraska Workforce Development, and the U.S. DOL’s Bureau of Apprenticeship. Finally, after sharing time with the Nebraska Dream It. Do It. campaign, Tri-V joined the MEC as a business partner.
Jim Vyhidal is actively involved with the Millard, Ralston, and Papillion La Vista school systems in the Omaha area. He realized the MEC is a important program providing high schools with the opportunity to learn about high tech careers in manufacturing.
In October 2006, Jim Vyhidal participated in an MEC career awareness presentation at the Papillion LaVista Administation building. Several Industrial Technology faculty members from both Papillion La Vista Senior High School and Papillion La Vista South High School and administrators including the superintendent had the opportunity to see the equipment and simulation software available with the MEC. Additionally, Jim V. was able to relate the MEC to actual Tri-V job functions, products produced, and critical shortages.
Papillion La Vista Senior High School is also the first and only high school in Nebraska to participate in the For Inspiration and Recognition for Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics program. This is their initial year with the FIRST Robotics program. Papillion La Vista Senior High Industrial Technology teacher Scott Kneifl learned that FIRST Robotics and the MEC share many of the same knowledge bases.
On October 18, 2006, both Papillion La Vista high schools joined the MEC as partner schools. An instructor from each high school participated in a MEC workshop in order to introduce the MEC curriculum and online software to their students immediately. 45 Papillion La Vista students used the online pneumatics and electricity software in December 2006.
Future plans for Papillion La Vista Senior High and Papillion La Vista South High School include visiting the Manufacturing Learning Laboratory and the Columbus High School Mechatronics lab in January to determine how to best outfit their labs and then to enter in the state Mechatronics competition of SkillsUSA.
Future plans with Tri-V include continuing to work as MEC partners with Dream It. Do It. in career fairs and awareness programs with high school students in the Eastern part of Nebraska.