Alberto Salomón
Director of the Chihuahua Campus
Center for Advanced Technology Training
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Companies to Public Sector: Train Professionals

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 16:07

Q: How has CENALTEC developed its training services since its creation?

A: CENALTEC was founded as an initiative by Chihuahua’s government to support the local manufacturing industry by enhancing the competitiveness of local workers through cutting-edge technology programs. At the time of its creation, foreign companies establishing in the state reported a lack of human capital for their local operations and requested the help of the government and educational institutions to help prepare more technicians and operators. The center’s first campus began operating in Ciudad Juarez in 2000 and a second opened in Chihuahua in 2006.

As more aerospace companies started arriving in Chihuahua, demand for these educational services kept increasing. Honeywell, for instance, predicted demand for about 1,000 machining technicians but could only recruit about 50 in the state. They flagged the problem and together we started developing a model to provide them with the technicians they needed. To date we have trained between 1,300 and 1,400 technicians.

Cessna and Beechcraft helped us develop structural and sheet metal assembly programs and we worked with Fokker to develop a program called Training the Trainers. Fokker brought three highly experienced technicians to train our instructors for four months and we trained 150 of their technicians. Once satisfied with the result, Fokker certified our operations and we continue training their personnel to this day. We developed similar processes with many other companies and have been certified by Bell Helicopters, Textron International, Cessna and Arnprior Aerospace. Our training courses are also certified by Eindhoven Regional Opleidinge Centrum (ROC), Kenteq and NIMS and are recognized by the European American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the local Ministry of Education (SEP), the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) and several academic institutions.

Q: How does CENALTEC support the development of the local aerospace industry?

A: CENALTEC is a pioneer in the training of highly skilled professionals because its structure grants it the flexibility to adapt programs rapidly to specific needs, allowing graduates to adapt to any workforce with ease. Companies actively participate in content definition, length of the training courses and evaluation systems according to their needs. This reduces recruitment costs and eliminates the need for training abroad. Clients can even choose to have the training on-site with their own equipment.

CENALTEC trained 4,204 aerospace professionals by 2014, 95 percent of whom are active for companies including Labinal, Kaman Aerospace, Zodiac Aerospace, Beechcraft, Textron International, Honeywell and Fokker. We have trained teachers for the ITESM, Tec Milenio University, Chihuahua Technological University (UTCh), Chihuahua Technological Institute and Chihuahua Autonomous University, and technical colleges across the country.

Q: What training courses are most in demand in the aerospace industry?

A: The industry needs expertise in aerostructures, sheet metal assembly, lean manufacturing, design software, structural assembly and machining. English language and a comprehensive knowledge of quality standards, certifications and aeronautics also are essential for industry participants. CENALTEC’s current courses cover electrical wiring, sheet metal assembly, fuselage parts, airborne electrical systems, NDT, Autocad, Catia V5, Mastercam, Nx, Solidworks, maintenance, CNC machining, mechatronics, plastic injection molding, plastic extrusion and welding, among many others.

Our programs are convenient for the industry because they are much shorter than those of conventional educational institutions and our curricula can be adapted to any company’s schedule without needing approval from the federal government, a process that can take up to one year. All our programs are financed by interested parties but we can offer these companies very competitive costs as those are also subsidized by the federal and state government.