As Baby Boomers retire, there is a need for manufacturing training and education. Now, an empty building will become a cold forging manufacturing training academy.

ROCKFORD — Rockford may no longer be the screw capital of the world, but it still ranks as the 10th largest U.S. metropolitan area for fastener production, and Rock Valley College is forging plans to help the region maintain its standing.

College trustees meet Tuesday to consider approval of a lease with the city for an empty Buckbee Street factory where Rock Valley intends to establish a cold forging manufacturing training center before the end of the year.

The college was donated a Nakashimada cold header but has no place to put it. Much of Rock Valley’s career and technical training is housed at its Samuelson Road Center, but the floors there cannot support the weight of the 10-ton machine. The city, however, owns a vacant building at 424 Buckbee St. that can house the machine and quickly be repurposed as a manufacturing training center.

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Fasteners, News, Workforce / Skills Gap