To ensure students receive skills that employers want, Paris Junior College must keep up with the latest developments in its 22 workforce programs. Often that means specialty equipment or software upgrades.

The PJC Mechatronics, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology, watchmaking and jewelry programs have all received recent upgrades.

PJC’s Horology Instructor Stan McMahan is in his first year teaching watchmaking at the college, and he has ambitious plans for modernizing equipment. The first such upgrade is an Elmaspheric Leak Detector, used for checking the water resistance qualities of the case of a watch. Though small, this important equipment cost around $5,000 and serves a vital purpose.

“Our students learn that water resistance of a watch isn’t a permanent condition, it must be maintained,” McMahan said. “The cutting edge technology of this Elmaspheric waterproof tester gives our students the knowledge and experience to perform encasing operations to the highest level necessary for modern watch repair.”

A 3-ton commercial chiller was installed in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology lab. It is 208 volts, three-phase and was tied into the chiller tower as it recirculates the water for heat exchange. The program used approximately $8,000 in Carl Perkins funds to make the purchase.

“This unit will help train PJC students in commercial air conditioning applications in settings such as convenience stores and restaurants,” PJC Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technology Instructor Jenna Ormsbee said. “The students installed the chilled water unit along with the fan coil this semester.”

The CAD jewelry design program, part of the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College, acquired all new computers over the summer and will provide students a better experience with the specialty software Matrix. The program also added a Formlab 3D printer. The printer uses stereolithography technology to produce fine detail patterns which used to have to be hand carved.

“A jeweler can now print 40 rings in less time than it takes to carve a simple band,” Jewelry Instructor Shannon Calloway said. “The cost of using this technology is so low that multiple prints are run rather than using the old method of creating a rubber mold of the piece, then injecting wax into that mold for casting. The resin used by the printer can withstand the pressure and intense heat of a three-hour burnout, allowing jewelers to produce a beautiful item in one day. Yet it can also print a separate resin that molds can be made from. This printer combines old with new methods, allowing our program to teach all techniques of designing and making jewelry to fit with any store the student may work for.”

In the Mechatronics program, the new software Automation Studio E6 runs in a new computer lab installed in the classroom as a teaching aid for hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, electrical and control technologies.

“It allows the students to build a circuit on the computer and simulate the circuit to check for errors without damaging equipment,” Mechatronics Instructor Bobby Fields said. “Once the circuit diagram is built correctly, they can then build it on one of the trainers for the actual hands-on that they’ll be doing in and industrial setting.”

In a class on Programmable Logic Controllers, students use the software to build a control logic on a PLC. The control logic then controls all of the functions of a process, like running multiple conveyers, or running an assembly line process, along with multiple other processes used in industry.

Two other programs at Paris Junior College, welding technology and CAD/Drafting/3D Printing, continue to supply high numbers of skilled graduates for the region.

A JET grant was used to upgrade welding equipment and PJC is running four shifts — day and evening classes — in both Paris and Sulphur Springs to meet the area’s high demand for welders. The college offers three semesters to allow students to gain all the skills needed for today’s job market.

The CAD program turns out drafters in both Paris and Sulphur Springs, and students are now being matched with internships.

“We are looking towards the workforce needs of this region in the next ten to 20 years to assure we’re teaching the right things and adding the right programs,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, “so we have the workforce this region needs for the future.”

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