Cabot has supported students and programs at the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute (LCTI) in Schnecksville for a number of years. This year we provided an additional grant of $25,000 in Educational Improvement Organization (EIO) funds. LCTI will use this for new equipment in their Tech and Arts Department.
Since 1971, LCTI has grown to offer 45 skills-based programs of study. This includes approximately 2,700 9th to 12th graders from Lehigh County’s nine public school districts. In addition, LCTI also provides industry-relevant training for Lehigh Valley adults.
While the term “electromechanical/Mechatronics technology” may seem cumbersome, it describes a new field that is growing in the Lehigh Valley. “It involves many different facets of different trades, starting with electrical, machining, automation, drafting and robotics,” Greg Merchlinsky, Electromechanical Technology Instructor at LCTI explained. “We’ve combined them all into a program to meet the demands of the most quickly expanding industry in the Lehigh Valley.”
Cabot’s donation will allow LCTI to purchase a mechanical drives trainer. The simulator, which will replace a 2003 model, combines the elements of hydraulics, electronic systems and machinery. “It really helps prepare them for entry level positions,” Greg told us. “When they first come out of this field, a lot of employers want them to have the mechanical skills to put together pulley and train drives.”
Kurt Adams is LCTI’s Director of Career and Technical Education. He told us that he was actually looking to replace the old drives trainer next year. So, he was thrilled to get the call from Cabot asking what the school could do with $25,000. “This is an important piece of equipment, and the timing was perfect,” Kurt remarked. Bids are out, and Kurt and Greg are waiting to see which of two or three companies can give them the best package for the amount of the EIO grant.
The new tool will help students learn how automated machines work and how to install and repair hydraulics and electronic systems. “This trainer will give them more hands-on ability and experience than others who don’t go through this course with us,” said Greg.
Previously, Cabot’s financial contributions to the school have helped to fund Camp LCTI. This camp runs in the summer to expose Lehigh County middle school students to career-based education. Additionally, previous donations have purchased uniforms required in some courses and to support Career & Technical Student Organizations (CTSO).
“These are clubs where students gain skills in things like job seeking, resume writing and parliamentary procedure,” Kurt related. “Cabot’s donations have helped to cover dues for members and to participate in district, state and national competitions.”
As Greg noted, students are in school to partake in as many activities as possible. We here at Cabot are happy to do our part to keep these future trades employees engaged.