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ramtec feature

Tri-Rivers RAMTEC addresses manufacturing skills gap

Marion has always been a community that builds things. We create things. We just always have. We created the machines that built the Panama Canal. We helped move rockets and space shuttles. It’s always been in our DNA.

At Tri-Rivers Career Center, we knew there was a skills gap; industry told us. We knew students needed advanced manufacturing training, but they just weren’t getting it. So, what could we do about it? We needed to create a place to fill these gaps; we needed a place like RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative).

“Our answer to the manufacturing skills gap in Ohio is RAMTEC,” said Ramey, RAMTEC Coordinator and Engineering Instructor at Tri-Rivers Career Center. “Tri-Rivers leads the nation on creating a state of the art training center for the gray collar jobs of the future with advanced manufacturing and engineering skills. We are building a Robotic Technician Pipeline.”

Ramey said, “Data shows over the next decade nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will be needed to be filled and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

Ramey said RAMTEC works with numerous Robotics, Programmable Logic Control and Welding companies to provide multiple advanced manufacturing and robotics certifications all under on roof.

“Tri-Rivers RAMTEC is set up with the most sophisticated up-to-date equipment that is out in the market today with over 38 robots, including FANUC, Yaskawa and Universal—the robots most widely used out in industry settings,” said Mark Edington, RAMTEC Instructor.

“When you look at what is happening around the country, there are various programs that are out there being built to replicate what RAMTEC has already done. We look at RAMTEC as really ground zero for industrial education for robotics,” said Bob Graff, senior sales manager of Robotics /Education Workforce Development at Yaskawa Motoman.

“RAMTEC is a state of the art facility modeled very similar to what we have at our Honda Technical Training Lab, said Drew Mosley, technical training instructor for Honda of America and a graduate of RAMTEC. “They are trying to give students a taste of what they will see on the (manufacturing) floor. They are giving them those tools prior to even going to college. I attribute a lot of my success to Tri-Rivers and the amount of work they put into building the program to what it is now.”

“They are teaching students the same exact skills they will use in the workforce It’s not a situation where there is a correlation or a parallel. It is literally what they are doing in the class is what they will be doing in the manufacturing environment,” Daryl Young, controls and automation manager for Whirlpool-Marion Division.

“They really took charge of identifying the types of curriculum and types of equipment that would prepare those students well immediately for needs that we have within our manufacturing operations,” said Scot McLemore of Honda of America. “Tri-Rivers through their RAMTEC Center has really focused on meeting our needs as an employer with our automation and manufacturing operations and then really working closely with us in terms of identifying pathways that lead to those positions that we have.”

Gus Comstock, the director of CANDO! Marion, said “I think something that we excel at in Marion is the partnership between the private sector and education and the public sector…we sort of cracked the code on how do you get manufacturers and the private sector together with educational institutions to make sure everyone is speaking the same language. RAMTEC is the mother ship of Robotics Education in the State of Ohio and probably one of the best in the nation. It doesn’t get any better for a company that needs people with robotics training.”

“The game changer is really about how RAMTEC is going about building a model that is sustainable—that supports what industry is looking for. It really is the biggest value that RAMTEC has,” said Graff.

“RAMTEC is going to keep our jobs here as apposed to moving to another country or another location,” said Annette Walton, Ohio Means Jobs, Marion.

RAMTEC Ohio opened its doors in Marion in 2013. In June of 2014 eight additional RAMTEC sites were funded through an Ohio Department of Education $14,995,000 Straight A Grant. Then in November 2015 an additional $8 million Straight A Grant funded 14 more RAMTEC Ohio sites. Today, with the site at Tri-Rivers leading the way, 23 RAMTECs are located in Ohio.

“Unique to RAMTEC is that where most schools tend to direct training to high school students, at RAMTEC we are directing training to not only high school students, but adults as well, including college students and incumbent workers, said Edington.

“RAMTEC is a state of the art facility modeled very similar to what we have at our Honda Technical Training Lab, said Drew Mosley, technical training instructor for Honda of America and a graduate of RAMTEC. “They are trying to give students a taste of what they will see on the (manufacturing) floor. They are giving them those tools prior to even going to college. I attribute a lot of my success to Tri-Rivers and the amount of work they put into building the program to what it is now.”

Since opening, the training center at Tri-Rivers has certified more than 350 students in industrial maintenance, engineering technology, advanced machining, robotics and welding careers. RAMTEC’s graduates have been hired by companies such as Honda of America Mfg Inc., RobotWorx, SEMCO Manufacturing Co., Union Tank Car Co. and Whirlpool Corp.

Edington said in the last class of high school students at Tri-Rivers RAMTEC, 19 of the 20 were employed even before they graduated. “The Adult students going through the new Tri-Rivers RAMTEC Robotics Technician Training are equally successful in being hired at companies like Jefferson Industries.”

RAMTEC has been recognized by the SME Education Foundation, the Ohio Economic Development Association and the Ohio Department of Education for being innovative and cutting edge. More than $20 million dollars in state grants has allowed Tri-Rivers to partner with additional career centers to expand and continue the innovative vision of RAMTEC helping to fill Ohio’s skills gap and hopefully helping to establish Marion as the new Robotics Hub in Ohio. To learn more at RAMTEC visit

facebook 2018 RRTT

FREE* RAMTEC Robotics Technician Training—Learn more June 27th

Explore Tri-Rivers RAMTEC Robotic Technician Training (RRTT) during the Hiring and Training Fair, Wednesday, June 27, 2pm to 6pm at RAMTEC. With funding through JobsOhio and Ohio Means Jobs, qualifying individuals selected will receive this valuable customized training FREE*. The value of the certifications is approximately $6,995. Completers of the training are guaranteed a job interview, according to Ritch Ramey, coordinator for RAMTEC.

*To be selected for the next RRTT three-week customized skills training class, July 23-August 10, 2018, individuals must first pass a background check, drug screening and assessment tests and be selected. They can learn more details at the upcoming Hiring & Training Fair June 27. RRTT Brochure

Those selected for the customized training will earn high-demand industry certifications, including:

• FANUC Robotic HTOP Robotic Training—40 hours in class training

• Yaskawa/Motoman Robotic Training—40 hours in class training

• Additional Training: Robotic Preventative Maintenance, Mechanical Blue Print Reading, Safety-OSHA 10, Technical Math Review and Essential Softskills


Click here to read story on recent graduations from the pilot program—since the news release they have been hired or promoted.

Contact Holly at RAMTEC if you have questions—740-389-8590 or EMAIL

Group photo Rob Tech Pilot topper

Tri-Rivers’ RAMTEC first Robotics Technicians graduate

Cutline for group photo: l-r: Graduates of Tri-Rivers RAMTEC Robotics Technicians customized training pilot are: Shane Rose. Austin Billingsley, Ian Clouse, and Sean DeWitt.

The four individuals who qualified for the first ever Tri-Rivers’ RAMTEC Robotics Technicians (RRT) customized training have graduated. “This pilot program for adults is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Ritch Ramey, coordinator of RAMTEC. “Our goal is to graduate hundreds of robotics technicians to help fill the growing skills gap.”

This select group of RRT graduates included: Austin Billingsley, Ian Clouse, Sean DeWitt and Shane Rose. “Through this pilot program, these individuals qualified for the free 15-day training worth over $6,000 and are guaranteed job interviews with area companies,” said Ramey.

“These four new members of our robotics fraternity will be very successful Robotic & Automation Technicians in our community,” said Ramey. “As customized training completers they earned both Yaskawa Motoman and FANUC Industrial Robotics certifications as well as OSHA 10 Safety, blueprint reading, Metric System and the A Game of Essential Career Skills training.”

Why is this customized training important and relevant? Ramey explained, “By 2015 it is estimated 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, but only 1.4 million are expected to be filled. That means 2 million jobs will be left unfilled due to the skills gap,” said Ramey.

“At RAMTEC our high school engineering students have been earning nationally-recognized robotics certifications and we have been providing customized robotics training for area industry,” said Ramey. “However, we need to expand that training to reach more adult students to meet industries’ needs— this Robotics Technicians customized training will do that.”

“To qualify for the pilot Robotics Technicians customized training individuals completed a variety of assessments, including a career awareness program called the COPSystem Career Test,” said Amy Pirnstill, Tri-Rivers transitions/placement coordinator. “The system utilizes three areas that guide students to the best career fit, including: Career Occupational Preference System Interest Inventory (COPS); Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) and Career Orientation Placement and Evaluation Survey (COPES).”

Pirnstill said prospective students also completed the The Adult Basic Education (TABE) Test through Marion County Job and Family Services. “This test has four sections: Reading, Language, Math Computation and Applied Math. Plus, they had to pass a drug test and background check.”

DeWitt, the former director for the Marion Boys & Girls Club, said, “I wasn’t finding a job in my field and saw information about the RAMTEC Robotics Tech Training. The timing was right and it seemed like a good fit. I liked the small class size and the hands-on. It was fast-paced and intense, but the instructor was always on hand to help me through any situation. I’m looking forward to interviewing for a job in this field. It’s a new start for me.”

Mark Edington, RAMTEC Robotics Instructor, said, “All four participants in the pilot were outstanding. “They worked hard. They were highly motivated and wanted to really learn how to operate the industrial robots. This program is going to open doors for these students.”

Billingsley, who currently works for Honda, is hoping Edington is right because he is looking to grow in his career. “I have always liked the technical side of things. I’d picked up skills in welding and metal fabrication at Tri-Rivers in high school. This RAMTEC Adult Education Robotics Technician customized training is the next step for me to get into an Industrial Maintenance career. It will open doors for me.  I want to keep taking more advanced classes at RAMTEC. I thrive on hands-on more than just reading information.”

Rose, who also works at Honda,  said, “I’m hoping this training will help me get a more technical job as a Robotic Technician or in Maintenance.”

Clouse added, “I have always thought robots were interesting. The RAMTEC Robotics Tech Training intrigued me. The instructor is very knowledgeable. I’ve learned more here in this class in three weeks, than I learned in all of my high school and college classes. RAMTEC is awesome. The fact that Marion, Ohio has this resource—with nothing else like it in the country—is amazing to me.”

Ramey said Tri-Rivers RAMTEC is positioned to help build a robotic and automation technician pipeline starting right here in Marion, Ohio. “The need is real. One Honda plant announced recently to a group of high school Seniors they will need 800 new hires to replace retirees, including 300 robotic technicians in the next three years.”

Paul Aiello, director of the Certified Education Group for FANUC of America Corporation, commended Ramey and his RAMTEC team, saying,  Tri-Rivers RAMTEC “as one of FANUC’s first high schools to offer our CERT program (Certified Education Training), continues to be the model of success that we need to replicate in high schools throughout America.” He also thanked Ramey for his continued advocacy of Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics.

Ramey said he and his RAMTEC team plan to continue and expand high school offerings, but are also concentrating on offerings for adults. “Through our partnerships with JobsOhio, Ohio Means Jobs, Marion County Jobs and Family Services, as well as Aerotek, Cardington Yutaka, Honda, RobotWorx, Whirlpool, Xigent and others our RAMTEC Robotics Technicians customized training will help fill the skills gap.

Tri-Rivers RAMTEC is located in Marion, Ohio on the Tri-Rivers Career Center campus, 2222 Marion-Mt. Gilead Rd, Marion, OH. The facility is geared to technically train students for high-skilled jobs in Automation, Robotics, CNC (Computer Numerical Control), Welding and Industrial Maintenance.

For more information on the RRT program and other programs offered at Tri-Rivers  RAMTEC, call Holly Ramey at 740-389-8590 or EMAIL

Ritch Ramey in DC

Tri-Rivers’ RAMTEC Coordinator Presents in Washington DC

Tri-Rivers Career Center’s RAMTEC Coordinator/Engineering Technologies Instructor Ritch Ramey was part of a panel that presented Next Generation Robotics and the Future of Work to the Congressional Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC on April 18.

Ramey said,  “The international race to lead the robotics revolution won’t be won in research labs alone, but will depend on effective workforce development programs and strategies. At Tri-Rivers RAMTEC we are proud to be leading the way in providing training locally and working towards ensuring that our training model is replicated to not only meet our district’s needs, but to provide solutions to Ohio’s and the Nation’s manufacturing skills gap.”

Ramey presented on the RAMTEC Model. “It was critical to our economy that we started developing K-12 programming, college credits and industrial certifications as well as creating a replicable public and private industry program to overcome our national 2.5 million technician shortage or Manufacturing Gap,” said Ramey. “RAMTEC has gained national attention. We recognized there was a critical need in Central Ohio for technicians and hands-on training and at RAMTEC developed partnerships with national leaders in manufacturing equipment to credential students and instructors.”

Ramey said, “We currently have 11 of our 19 high school Seniors making great wages building robotics work cells half a day in various robotics and automation facilities in Central Ohio while still in school. They also each earned more than $8,000 worth of industrial certifications as well as up to 15 college credit hours from Marion Technical College in their Engineering Technology programs. This sets them up for success.”

Opening remarks were given by Robotics Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Mike Doyle and Congressman Rob Woodall. The panel’s moderator was Dr. Ramayya Krishnan, Dean, Heinz College of Information Management and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University. The Heinz College is home to the Block Center for Technology and Society. Mr. Ramey represented secondary and Career Technical Education on the panel along with Mark Lewandowski, Procter & Gamble; Jeff Burnstein, President, Robotic Industries Association; Jim Key, President of USW Atomic Energy Workers Council, United Steelworkers; and Seth Hutchinson, Professor, KUKA Chair for Robotics, Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

Ramey shared with the Robotics Caucus some of the history of how RAMTEC was developed. He explained that in 2003, three Marion County teachers—Ramey from Tri-Rivers and Ed Goodwin and Tad Douce from River Valley— decided to bring the National Robotics Challenge (NRC) contest to this area. “This contest has grown to more than 400 teams and 1300 participants in grades 4-16,” shared Ramey.

He emphasized that “a rural community of 70,000—Marion, Ohio—has become one of leaders in robotics and automation training in the nation.” However, he also said, “that even with our Tri-Rivers RAMTEC’s full high school program, adult training, incumbent worker training and customized training,  we alone cannot fill the immediate need of Ohio. It will take thousands of schools training students in STEM, Robotics, coding and automation to fill the shortage of the skilled workers we need. A student’s exposure to these high technologies and high-paying careers should not be based on where they live. These great opportunities need to be available to all students K to Gray.”

“A new generation of robotics technologies are entering the U.S. economy. From shop floors to warehouses, robots are becoming common across a myriad of sectors—from transportation to retail, to hospitals, banks, and other services,” said Ramey.

Unlike earlier periods of automation, these autonomous systems technologies are increasingly designed to augment and collaborate with human workers, he told the committee members. Ramey said, “Studies of the manufacturing sector even indicate that as collaborative robotics are deployed in manufacturing environments, the number of new jobs increases as greater levels of robots are deployed. While the creation of new jobs is promising, it is also clear that new robotics technologies will have significant impact on the fundamental nature of work performed and that we must rise to meet the challenges.”

“This briefing brought together robotics industry, labor, workforce, technology research and public policy leaders to discuss what steps should be taken to ensure that the next generation robotics also means broader economic opportunity nation-wide,” said Ramey. “I made multiple contacts that will assist us in moving forward.”

 Upon the completion of the presentation about 75 members of the committee and audience member had a 30 minute questions and answers session. Ramey said, “Most of the questions centered around RAMTEC and how can we as a nation need to develop more programs like RAMTEC. “It made me feel proud to hear the interest in our great programs in the Marion area. It was also very rewarding to be able to represent our community, the great state of Ohio and all our great public and private industrial partners on the panel. For me, it has really been a great experience to be a part of the creation and on-going development of RAMTEC.

Along with Ramey, the panel included: Mark Lewandowski, Procter & Gamble; Jeff Burnstein, President, Robotic Industries Association; Jim H. Key, Vice President, USW Local Union 550, Paducah, KY, President of USW Atomic Energy Workers Council, United Steelworkers; and Seth Hutchinson, Professor, KUKA Chair for Robotics, Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

pick and place gold

2018 National Robotics Challenge huge success

The 2018 National Robotics Challenge held on the Marion County Fairgrounds at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum April 12-14 was a huge success. More than 1,000 young people participated in the event.

Students from colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools competed—more than 80 schools overall.

The event has been held in Marion since 2004. For more details on the National Robotics Challenge, visit:

Below are the Award recipients in each category. The team captain’s name is in parentheses.

Honda Innovation Award

Adventure Bots (Chad Savage)

• Autonomous Vehicle Challenge: Circleville High School (Brandon Throckmorton)
• Bot Ball: Campbell Home School (Ethan E. Campbell)
• Internet of Things: Benjamin Logan High School (Colton Jones)
• Manufacturing Robotic Work Cell: Wadsworth High School (Garret Freund)
• Pick & Place Programming: Tri-Rivers Career Center (Matt Craig)
• Rescue Robot: River Valley High School (Logan Glosser)
• Robo Hockey: Montpelier High School (Jared W. Rediger & Colin P. Rockey)
• Robot Maze/Non-tactile: Chippewa High School (Emma Powers)
• Robot Maze/Tactile: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Gregory Wenner)
• Sumo Lightweight: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Michael Langford)

Autonomous Vehicle Challenge
High School
Gold: Highland High School (Nefi Bumpus)
Silver: Circleville High School (Jarrett Quincel)

Bot Ball
High School

Gold: River Valley High School (Josh Strine)
Silver: River Valley High School (Levi Goins)
Bronze: Upper Sandusky High School (Seth Mawer)

Middle School
Gold: The Wellington School (Will Miller)
Silver: Tallmadge Middle School (Dylan Donnell)
Bronze: Tallmadge Middle School (Spencer Fleming)

Combat Robot
Gold: Case Western Reserve University (Rachel Pokhama)
Silver: Purdue University (Joshua Patel)
Bronze: Middle Tennessee State University (Wenbo Dong)

High School
Gold: Adventure Bots (Chad Savage)
Silver: Highland High School (Evan Walter)
Bronze: Ayb High School (Simon Zohrabyan)

Middle School
Gold: Hastings Middle School (Kaya Ceyhan)

Interactivity Challenge
High School
Gold: Ridgedale High School (Liam Parsell)
Silver: Marion Harding High School (Nathaniel Thacker)
Bronze: Marion Harding High School (Dan Rollins)

Middle School
Gold: The Wellington School (Allison Klingler)
Silver: The Wellington School (Liam Ross)
Bronze: Hastings Middle School (Rena Zhao)

Internet of Things
High School
Gold: Marion Harding High School (Dan Rollins)
Silver: Benjamin Logan High School (Colton Jones)
Bronze: Circleville High School (Jarrett Quincel)

Manufacturing Robotic Work Cell
Gold: Ohio Northern University (Scott Rapps)
Silver: Indiana Tech (Kyle R. Taylor)
Bronze: Indiana Tech (Alawi A. Agroomah)

High School
Gold: Wadsworth High School (Garret Freund)
Silver: Toledo Technology Academy (Ian Denner)
Bronze: Harding High School IPT (Dawon Denney)

Gold: Middle Tennessee State University (Wenbo Dong)
Silver: Indiana Tech Explorer (David Langford)
Bronze: Middle Tennessee State University (Jacob Pawelski)

High School
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer (Matthew Willets)
Silver: Circleville High School (Alex Ell)
Bronze: River Valley High School (Ty Garrett)

Middle School
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer (Julia Langford)
Silver: The Wellington School (Owen Roth)
Bronze: Troop 86 (Gabriel Douce)

Pick & Place Programming Teach Pendant
High School
Gold: Tri-Rivers Career Center (Matt Craig)
Silver: Tri-Rivers Career Center (Jordan Bush)
Bronze: Tri-Rivers Career Center (Sam Hostetter)

Pick & Place Programming Computer Controlled
High School
Gold: Olmsted Falls High School (Stephanie Schroth)

Rescue Robot
High School
Gold: River Valley High School (Logan Glosser)
Silver: Tri-Rivers Career Center (Kaleb Taylor)
Bronze: Upper Sandusky High School (Noah Cheney)

Middle School
Gold: Indian Valley Middle School (Payne Landis)
Silver: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Grant Congdon)
Bronze: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Gregory Wenner)

Robo Hockey
High School
Gold: Manufacturing Technology (Jacob Bieri-Brintnall)
Silver: Wadsworth High School (Adam Hinkle)
Bronze: Montpelier High School (Colin P. Rockey)

Middle School
Gold: Indian Valley Middle School (Cullen Gump)
Silver: Ridgedale Junior High School (Dylan Collins)
Bronze: Tallmadge Middle School (Richie Day)

Robot Construction
Silver: Cedarville University (Daniel Parker)
Bronze: Cedarville University (Ailin Leong)

High School
Silver: Winter-Crowder Robotics Club (Michael Winter)

Middle School
Silver: Winter-Crowder Robotics Club (Brodie Crowder)

Robot Maze/Non-tactile
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Chad Trowbridge)

High School
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Matthew Willets)
Silver: Chippewa High School (Gabe M. Ferraiuolo)
Bronze: Chippewa High School (Emma Jo J. Powers)

Middle School
Gold: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Gregory Wenner)
Silver: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Alyssa Mobley)
Bronze: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Corban Saylor)

Elementary School
Gold: Union Elementary School (Jameson Rile)
Bronze: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Ryan Mobley)

Robot Maze/Tactile
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Chad Trowbridge)

High School
Gold: Montpelier High School (Noah B. Conklin)
Silver: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Paige Billien)

Middle School
Gold: Tallmadge Middle School (Richie Day)
Silver: Geauga Engineering & Robotics 4-H Club (Gregory Wenner)
Bronze: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Julia Langford)

Sumo Lightweight
High School
Gold: Indiana Tech Explorer Post 2829 (Michael Langford)
Silver: Kenton High School (Kyle Goodin)
Bronze: Wadsworth High School (Ben Fisher)