KCC manufacturing program prepares students for employment in Southern Oregon and Northern California
Figuring out how things work has been a lifelong passion for Derek Kindt. When he was a child, his curiosity inspired him to take his toys apart. He often then used the parts to build a new toy from the toys he had. As an adult, he took to woodworking and home repair.
KLAMATH FALLS — Figuring out how things work has been a lifelong passion for Derek Kindt.
When he was a child, his curiosity inspired him to take his toys apart. He often then used the parts to build a new toy from the toys he had. As an adult, he took to woodworking and home repair.
“I’ve always been mechanically inclined,” said Kindt, who works at Jeld-Wen Research and Development.
Kindt, 36, enrolled at KCC in 2014 and initially only took one class at a time while working full time at Jeld-Wen. He said the company was supportive of his education and Kindt graduated with an Associate of Science in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology in 2019.
Kindt has been with Jeld-Wen for about 10 years, and in that time has earned several promotions. Earlier this year, he was promoted to become the company’s BIM (building information modeling) manager for all of North America.
“I create 3-D models for our products and upload them to the Jeld-Wen website so architects, contractors, and other customers can go to the website and use the models to insert into architects’ plans. It’s basically like digital 3-D blueprints,” Kindt said, noting the software he uses now was not part of the KCC curriculum, but that the skills he learned using other computer-aided software in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) program helped him quickly become proficient in Jeld-Wen’s preferred software program.
Stan Pence, program lead for the engineering program at KCC, said the two-year MET program is designed to provide graduates with the skills to enter into most fabrication and machining companies in Klamath, Lake, and Siskiyou County, with the potential to grow professionally and economically.
“With an associate degree, graduates have the ability to grow from an initial wage rate to something appreciably larger than that because of the learned skill sets,” Pence said.
Pence said students enrolled in KCC’s MET program will learn how the world of industry and fabrication works, including basic electricity and hydraulics, welding, blue prints, machining, manufacturing, and computer-aided drawing.
“The program is designed to develop well-rounded technical students,” Pence said. “The world is changing. The tools we were using 20 years ago are on their way out. The skills students learn in this program provide graduates with the breadth of knowledge they will need to adapt to an industry that is constantly evolving.”
KCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Jamie Jennings said KCC’s program is competitive and has two paths: one to university and one to industry. The industry path requires basic carpenter mathematics, science, and technology skills. The university path requires upper level math and support science for a university student. Jennings pointed out that KCC’s program requires college-level math, but not courses such as calculus and physics.
“Our program lays a foundation for either career advancement or continued education. Students can take higher level math courses if they so choose, but they are not required to as part of the MET program,” Jennings said. “The MET program is for anyone who wants to see their ideas put into motion.”
Pence encourages anyone interested in making things to consider KCC’s MET program.
“The only difference between art and industry is that an artist makes one object. An engineer makes the same thing the artist makes but an engineer wants to make 10,000,” Pence said. “If you like making, fabricating, or if you like to produce things so at the end of the day you have something tangible you made, you will like this program.”
Klamath Community College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Veteran/ADA institution embracing diversity. We encourage and welcome women, minority, veteran, and disabled candidates.