Pike County Career Technology Center Engineering Technology students participated in Lean Six Sigma training earning Yellow Belt and Green Belt certifications. The first training was made possible thanks to funding from The Ohio State University Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The Workforce development initiative strives to train potential future workforce of manufacturers. Pike County Career Technology Center invested in the students’ Green Belt training so the students would have this important certification as they graduated.

The students brainstormed projects and with the help of their project champions completed process improvement projects, a requirement to earn their Green Belt certification. “Lean has opened my mind to a better way of problem solving,” shared Tyler Sowards, team leader for the reduction of water bottle use project. He along with John Travis Maki, John Burton, Jonathan Leedy, Braiden Dunham, Colton Fyffe, Gabe Morgenson, Jacquelyn Tackett, & Jake Taylor utilized the tools they learned in their Yellow Belt certification to determine the root cause for the overuse of water bottles in the Engineering Technology program.

“The group was passionate about eliminating the use of disposable water bottles at their school,” explained Brad Hollingsworth, Lean Six Sigma coach to the student teams. “As the team worked through the process, they realized the scale of the project was too large to tackle, so they narrowed the focus to their program.” Hollingsworth went on to explain that the team developed a solution that eliminated the use of water bottles in that program.

“This led to a tangible, quantifiable improvement and established a solution that Pike County Career Technology Center can replicate to tackle the larger scale problem,” Hollingworth added.

“Water bottle waste is a huge problem the entire world faces day to day, so being able to even create a small impact would go a long way,” said team member Jacquelyn Tackett. Gabriel Morgenson agreed adding, “It made me feel like I was actually doing something important.”

They gathered data, outlined it on a Pareto Chart and then determined the primary reasons for the high use of disposable bottles. Using histograms, run charts, and other tools they learned during their Lean Six Sigma training, along support from their project champion and teacher, Jamie Steffy, the team brainstormed and came up with a solution to the problem they identified.

Disposable water bottle usage was eliminated thanks to the team’s process improvement solution. The team designed, built, and incorporated a water bottle refilling station in their classroom. “Since our scope was only limited to the E-Tech classroom we only built one,” said Soward.

In addition to the disposable water bottle reduction project, students in Sheffy’s class identified and addressed two other problems to help the school, both involved flow of traffic inside the school.

Ethan Ward, Jayden Keaton, Caleb Skeens, Matthew Albro, Jesse Caudill, & Nicholas Tackett redesigned the campus map to help students who are new to the school navigate their way around. “The team utilized the schematic of the campus and updated it with improvements such as color coding and a legend and provided ready access to the updated map so students could utilize it,” explained Hollingsworth.

“Each member worked hard to do their part and in the end me and my co-workers created a new map for the entire school to use,” team member Nicholas Tackett shared with pride.

Ethan Ward echoed Tackett’s thoughts and added, “The training was very helpful, and its principles developed my working mindset, which I will be able to better use in manufacturing jobs and in my daily life.”

While the students’ goal was to reduce the number of students who got lost on campus by 75%, their success exceeded that with Wayfinding on campus improving by more than 90%.

Another project sought to reduce the time to complete safety tornado drills. Working with Center Director Shon Tackett, students Dayton O’Dell, Noah Runyon, Colton Jenkins, Zak Green, Austin Hurt, & Landon Dickerson reduced the amount of time it takes students to reach safe areas during a tornado drill from over two minutes to under well under a minute. “Our project helped us solve and open a new door for safety in our school,” shared Dayton O’Dell, team leader for the project.

“As a graduating student I want to be as prepared as possible for the real world,” O’Dell added. Jesse Caudill agreed saying, “I wanted the Lean Six Sigma training because it will help me advance in my career, especially in my field of engineering where solving problems is almost a natural occurrence.”

The experience the students gained, and the resulting certification, will play a role in doing just that. The three teams used Lean Six Sigma tools like the Pareto charts, fishbone diagrams, flow charts, and histograms during their design, measure, analyze, improve, and control phases of their process improvement projects.

Pike County Career Technology Center is committed to preparing students for the workforce. That commitment is demonstrated through the addition of the Lean Six Sigma certification, which is a high demand certification in innovative organizations, making those certified stronger candidates in a competitive job market.

“The projects allowed for students to impact their school and its daily operations,” Superintendent Eric Meredith said. “These real-life projects will put them a step ahead in the workforce.”

Through the Lean Six Sigma certification program, 46 Pike County Career Technology Center students completed Yellow Belt training where participants become familiar with the Lean Six Sigma methodology and learn to be effective team members on a process improvement team. Of the Yellow Belt certified participants, 21 went on to complete their Green Belt certification by leading their process improvement projects from design through implementation.

“The faculty and administration at Pike County Career Technology Center and The Ohio State University MEP are to be commended for providing this certification option,” Hollingworth said. “The three projects the students completed provided opportunity for the students to contribute to value-added process improvement on campus.” He went on to say that thanks to the projects they completed the students have real world experience to add to their resumes.

Meredith echoed Hollingsworth appreciation to the MEP for providing funding to make the student certifications possible saying, “With the MEP’s support we hope to continue training these students, so they become immediate impact players in the ever-changing world economy.”

For more information about Lean Six Sigma process improvement trainings or facilitation, contact Master Black Belt Brad Hollingworth. Click here to contact Brad and set up your free consultation.