St. Lawrence College, WITRON, team up for students, future workers

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A worldwide leader in the design of warehouse and logistics systems has made a big donation to St. Lawrence College.

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And the announcement had dignitaries gathering at the huge WITRON operations site in Cornwall late on Monday morning, providing details on a donation of equipment valued at $150,000 to be used in several skilled trades programs to prepare students for careers in automated logistics and manufacturing.

“Our students will have the ability to learn and train on state-of-the-art equipment,” said Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President and CEO. “This will be a win for our students, (and) it goes beyond the (dollar) value of the equipment. Their confidence level goes way up (training on equipment that’s used) in the industry, this sector.”

Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President and CEO.  Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont.  Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network
Glenn Vollebregt, SLC President and CEO. Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Photo by Todd Hambleton /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder

The specialized equipment includes turntables, chain conveyors, barcode scanners, sensors, reflectors, brackets, wiring, frequency controllers, control panels, safety components, and more.

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The equipment will support experiential learning in programs including Mechanical Technician, Industrial Mechanic Millwright, Industrial Electrician, and General Machinist on SLC’s Kingston campus. Also, SLC plans to launch a new Mechatronics program in fall 2023, whose students will also benefit from the equipment.

It’s the first partnership of its kind in Canada for WITRON, which has approximately 5,000 employees worldwide. Kenny Arruda, the company’s national maintenance leader, took a look back at the roots of the partnership with SLC, the company about three years ago connecting with the college.

Kenny Arruda, the WITRON national maintenance leader.  Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont.  Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network
Kenny Arruda, the WITRON national maintenance leader. Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Photo by Todd Hambleton /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder

“We have 12 employees who’ve come directly from (SLC), and hopefully we’ll get more,” Arruda said. “This is s first (project/partnership with SLC), and I hope it’s not the last.

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“We are proud to assist in the future education and training to ensure a highly skilled, employable workforce.”

Added Massimo Miucci, the WITRON vice president Onsite Services Canada: “We value our employees, and we will all win from this. . .I hope this is just one step in our growth.”

The official announcement was made just after WITRON representatives provided SLC officials and a delegation from the City of Cornwall a tour of the massive and, yes futuristic facility at 1330 Optimum Drive in the business park.

“Thank-you to the WITRON team for an incredible tour,” said Daniel. Liao, the SLC dean for Applied Science, Technology and Trades. “This is a world-class facility.”

After the wow, the focus was on the what, Liao said the gathering was to celebrate the very generous WITRON donation.

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“In today’s high tech and automated environment, technology changes quickly and our goal is to educate our students in the current work environment, and to be prepared for the future,” he said.

Said Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant: “What I like most about this are the partnerships (involved). . . this facility alone is important to our community.”

Gathering of dignitaries, including Cornwall Mayor Glenn (fifth from left), at the WITRON announcement.  Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont.  Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network
Gathering of dignitaries, including Cornwall Mayor Glenn (fifth from left), at the WITRON announcement. Photo on Monday, October 3, 2022, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Photo by Todd Hambleton /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freeholder

WITRON is one of the worldwide market leaders in the design and realization of highly dynamic warehouse systems and order picking systems in the intra-logistics business.

The company says it sees the storage system as a whole in both distribution logistics and production logistics, with exactly tailored processes in the high bay warehouse, the automated small parts warehouse, the order picking, the material flow, the conveyor system, the warehouse software , and on control level.

WITRON is a major employer of SLC grads, and actively recruits from the College’s Wind Turbine Technician, Electrical Engineering Technician, and Mechanical Technician programs.

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