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METS Mobile Lab

While Oklahoma's manufacturing industry is booming, the number of qualified workers isn't keeping up. A new mobile classroom is designed to attract new talent to the manufacturing sector.
METS Mobile Lab


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Pioneer Tech's METS Mobile Lab

Show Dates

Show 0833: METS Mobile Lab

Air date: August 17, 2008



Rob:  While Oklahoma’s manufacturing industry is booming, the number of qualified workers isn’t keeping up.  Our Russ Jowell visited a mobile classroom designed to change attitudes and attract new talent to the manufacturing sector.

Beliel:  This is called a 3-D rapid prototype machine.  And its sole purpose is to create a prototype of a part we can verify to a print design, before we ever manufacture it.

Russ:  At first glance, Lawrence Beliel is just like any ordinary teacher. He works in a classroom, gives his students lessons, and administers exams.  But that’s where the similarities end.

Beliel:  What could we do if we could take the old mobile lab and rebuild it, make it look really cool on the outside, make it look really nice on the inside, and fill it full of high tech equipment that, number one, kids would like to look at; number two, that industry uses in our area.

Russ:  The result is the Manufacturing Education Training System, or METS for short, a vision Lawrence had after helping his third grade son with a homework assignment.

Beliel:  And after we did his homework, Kyle asked me a question that all of us have asked before.  And that question is; why do I need to know this stuff?

Russ:  And it’s that very question that has motivated Lawrence to take his laboratory on wheels across the state showing students of all ages exactly why they’re learning what they’re learning.

Beliel:  This is a computer numeric controlled milling machine.  And machines like this are used to manufacture a variety of parts, from a toy Volkswagen that we have loaded up today, or components for the video camera that we use to video these shots.

Russ:  While the mobile lab is an exciting opportunity for the younger generation, it also provides the ideal setting for older students to work on their mentoring skills.

Beliel:  They may be part of industrial technology.  They may be part of auto body.  They may be a part of the machine tool program.  But they come out and volunteer to work with these students to show them different career disciplines.

Russ:  But perhaps the person who has reaped the most reward from the program is Lawrence himself.

Beliel:  They start to see the relevance of schoolwork, and when that happens, and if we only get one kid excited about school again, I think we’ve done our job.

Student:  That’s amazing.