As a major supplier of electromechanical switches to the electronics and telecommunications industries, C&K knows that a creative, talented engineering team is vital for its success.
When C&K entered the switch business in the 1960s, its founders--two physicists from Harvard--recognized that talented and innovative engineers would be basic to their new company's growth. And the partners, Dr. Charles A. Coolidge, Jr. and Marshall Kincaid, ensured their engineers would have the opportunity for personal and professional growth: They established a program to underwrite ongoing technical education, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
It is with this spirit of support for ongoing learning that C&K is proud to contribute to the Design News Engineering Awards Program.
Education options. C&K knows the importance of offering education programs to its employees. New products and options are developed daily at C&K, requiring our engineers to keep up with today's technologies and design tools.
For example, in Kettering, England, where membrane products and interface panels are designed and manufactured, the training budget was increased 200% this year. More than half of the engineers in Kettering are enrolled in degree programs, and all engineers are attending internal courses tackling such important topics as problem solving, managing conflict, time management, and finance for non-financial managers.
In the U.S., every design engineer attends a four-day course on electrical contacts, under the sponsorship of the IEEE Components and Manufacturing Technology Society. Engineers also attend annual training in Pro/ENGINEER CAD/CAE software, building on skills in solid model design and finite element analysis.
C&K is also proud of its English as a Second Language Program, located in Newton, MA, which has graduated hundreds of employees over the past 10 years. Three recent graduates from El Salvador have used their new skills to land jobs with C&K's engineering organization.
C&K is committed not only to helping its own employees reap the benefits of additional education, but also to helping aspiring and newly graduated engineers. For the past five years C&K has participated in co-op intern programs with two Boston-area schools--Northeastern University and Massachusetts Bay Community College. This past year, C&K was one of four Massachusetts companies chosen by MIT's Industry Partnership Program, offering first-hand industrial experience to seniors and graduate students in manufacturing systems design. For three months, fifteen MIT student engineers worked on a variety of assigned projects within C&K's manufacturing operations. In Europe, C&K participates in the Modern Apprentice Scheme Program with local universities. And engineering graduates of the University of Costa Rica and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica provide industrial engineering training to the manufacturing technical staff at C&K's plant in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Moving forward. C&K has worked hard over the last year expanding service to customers in the area of application support and technical assistance.
In 1999 the company introduced the Engineering Technical Services Department, whose staff--three application engineers, four technical specialists, and an engineering manager--offers technical assistance to customers through a toll-free phone line and a web page.
Engineers at C&K are able to provide this high level of service to customers as a result of their commitment to advanced education and ongoing technical training. C&K recognizes that its educated workforce is its greatest asset and its foundation for innovation and future growth in the next century.