Columbia Tech is Bridging the Skills Gap by Engaging Directly with Students


It is no secret that the skills gap problem in the United States is only getting worse, especially in the manufacturing industry. One study predicts there will be 3.5 million new manufacturing jobs created over the next decade, but only 1.5 million people with the skills to fill them.

Columbia Tech, a wholly owned subsidiary of Coghlin Companies, isn’t taking these statistics lightly. In an effort to bridge the skills gap and bring new talent to the American manufacturing industry, Columbia Tech has made it a priority to work face-to-face with students in related fields to help them gain firsthand knowledge and experience.

Myra Zhinin and Seth Margadonna

Myra Zhinin and Seth Margadonna

Recently, a student named Myra Zhinin, who is enrolled in the Western New England University Master’s Program for Engineering Management, reached out to a number of different manufacturing companies. One of her assignments for a lean production class was to conduct an interview with local industry leaders. Columbia Tech invited Myra to meet with Seth Margadonna, Materials Planning Manager, in late January.

The interview was part of a larger task to work with an American manufacturing company using an ERP system and compare its processes to another using an MRP II system. Throughout the course of the meeting, Seth and Myra discussed how orders are prioritized, how raw materials are scheduled, and how lead times, inventory control, daily obstacles, quality control, and other essential issues are handled.

The meeting was so successful that Seth agreed to meet with her again for another project, which was a proposal for technology innovation for supply chains. Seth and Myra met a total of six times over ten weeks; she received an “A” on both projects.

Columbia Tech is always open to work directly with motivated students like Myra to help them not only gain firsthand knowledge and experience, but also help bridge the skills gap and usher new talent into the industry. As an industry leader, Columbia Tech takes the future of American manufacturing very seriously, and looks forward to continuing to work with other students on future opportunities.