Titans of Pittsburgh Summer Program in Homewood


Tom Reed treed@catalystconnection.org 412.889.4224

Pittsburgh, July 29, 2019 — Catalyst Connection and Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ have partnered to provide an immersive summer camp experience that will focus on CNC machine training using the TITANS of CNC Building Blocks with a 3-axis mill.  This is the first time that the TITAN’s curriculum is used in a summer camp format. The first camp runs July 29-August 2 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) in Homewood. Hunter Sasso, New Century Careers student and BotsIQ alum from Pittsburgh’s Science Technology Academy, is the lead instructor for the camp along with MAC staff. Thirteen high school juniors and seniors from Allderdice, City Charter and Kiski Prep schools are learning to use computer-aided design (CAD) with Fusion 360, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerical control (CNC).  In addition to these technical skills, participants will learn about shop safety and measurement with precision tooling. After completing the program, all campers will receive a certificate of completion, a set of precision machining tools, and will have access to dozens of online manufacturing programs from Fusion 360, TITANS of CNC and Tooling-U.  These skills can be added to each participants resume that will help them pursue a career in manufacturing.

Throughout the camp, students learn about career opportunities in the manufacturing industry.  Each camper will tour Conturo Prototyping, LLC and see CNC machining in production. The costs for the camp and a stipend to pay campers, through a “summer earn and learn” model, are covered by financial support from the Benedum Foundation, Chevron Corporation and Shell Corporation. Donations of tools and raw material were also provided by Kennametal and MSC Direct, and Metal Supermarkets (Pittsburgh North).

TITANS of CNC Academy is the biggest CNC and manufacturing educational program ever developed. Utilizing videos to teach CAD design, CNC programing, and CNC machining, TITANS offers introductory to advanced machining coursework for both CNC mills and CNC lathes.  In addition to quality how-to training videos for 1000s of projects, TITANS provides handouts, curriculum, and additional resources to support student learning.

Demand for CNC Operators

According to Key Findings from the 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Skills Gap and Future of Work Study, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs across the United States could remain unfilled between 2018 and 2028 due to advanced technology skill requirements, misconceptions about manufacturing jobs, and the retirement of baby boomers. Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development lists Pennsylvania as the eighth largest manufacturing industry in the country, contributing $84 billion each year to the state’s economy. Industry is seeking a diverse group of skilled workers to fill the current and future labor market, prompting the need to educate and encourage students to consider manufacturing as a viable career option.

In a recent survey, 4 of 5 high school dropouts said they might have stayed in school if there were “more opportunity for real-world learning and… experiential learning.” By providing students with exposure to different opportunities and experiences that enable them to develop their passions and by helping them develop a diverse set of relevant skills and apply them in the real world, we can ensure that students are invested in their education now and are empowered to successfully choose and pursue a fulfilling post-secondary pathway. 

Catalyst Connection’s Manufacturing Employment Demand Study for Southwestern Pennsylvania finds that a CNC machine operator is one of the hardest to fill open positions for manufacturers.  Across the region, fourteen Career Technical Schools offer Machine Tool Technology, but these programs are not at maximum student capacity and the students graduating from them are not able to fill all of the open positions.  As a strategy to introduce more high school students to CNC operation, BotsIQ and Catalyst Connection would like to offer an immersive summer camp experience.

Partner Description

BotsIQ and Catalyst Connection have partnered to coordinate and manage the summer camp.  They brought together the students, organizations and companies to make this program possible.

TITANS of CNC provides the curriculum, including all video, handout and branding materials.  TITANS with their relationship with Kennametal, will provide discounted rates for CNC tooling required for the projects.

Pitt’s MAC Center is hosting the training for the summer camp. They allow camp participants to use their computers and CNC Mills to machine parts that are designed following TITANS of CNC curriculum. 


Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ is a manufacturing workforce development program disguised as a high school robotics competition. This Smart Sport is designed to provide high school students with an exciting, hands-on team experience while they learn about the pathways to a rewarding career in manufacturing. For more information, call 1-412-258-6676 or go to www.botsiqpa.org.  


Catalyst Connection is an economic development organization dedicated to helping small manufacturers improve their competitive performance.  Advisors, consultants and instructors offer training, consulting and administer financial programs that can provide funding for equipment, machinery or capital improvements.A nonprofit 501 (c)3 firm, the organization has supported southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers for more than 30 years.  For more information, call 1-888-887-7472 or go to www.catalystconnection.org.

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