What makes the AIM Institute Different?
AIM was founded by John Beaumont, Plastics Hall-of-Famer and former chair of the Plastics Engineering Technology program at Penn State Erie, where he also played an integral role in developing the program and its curriculum.
While at Penn State Erie, John recognized that there was a large skills gap in the industry. Many professionals did not have a formal education in plastics, and those with a plastics background had very few options for refining or furthering their skills. Overall, outside of a university, the options for professional education were limited.
He set out to develop educational and training programs that exceeded the status quo, and since our inception in 2015, AIM has been driven by that mission of truly advancing the injection molding industry.
In addition to our unique history, our institute is home to a number of additional differentiators that truly set us apart from any other education and training organization in our industry.
Our Instructor Team
AIM’s instructor team boasts over 200 years of combined experience in the plastic injection molding industry. Each instructor is highly skilled in their individual areas of expertise.
In addition to John Beaumont, students will learn from AIM’s Director David Hoffman, Sr. Instructor David Rose, Sr. Simulation Instructor Jennifer Schmidt, Sr. Processing Instructor Jason Travitz, and renowned materials expert Mike Sepe.
AIM is home to the FIRST and ONLY FOUR programs in the plastic injection molding industry to be accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board:
- Plastics Technology & Engineering (PTE) Certificate Program
- Molders’ Series
Molding 1, Molding 2, and Molding 3
AIM voluntarily underwent the accreditation process because we recognized that our industry lacked any external certifying body reviewing its educational programs. There should be someone other than the training provider evaluating its claims of quality on a regular basis to ensure what the company is saying is true.
Our Advisory Boards
AIM utilizes advisory boards comprised of professionals from a wide variety of industry backgrounds, areas of expertise, and organizational profiles. Our advisory boards evaluates every lesson, learning objective, and test question in our Molders’ Series and PTE Programs.
We use their feedback to continuously improve upon our programs in addition to our teaching methods. This collaboration is paramount in ensuring that the content we are teaching in our classroom is consistent with what the industry actually needs from their education and training programs.
Education vs. Training
There is a difference between, and a need for, education and training. Training is teaching someone that when a part warps, changing pack pressure will fix the issue. Education is giving a thorough understanding of the various root causes of warp so the appropriate corrective action can be applied, which may be completely unrelated to pack pressure.
Critical Thinking Skills
It is AIM’s belief that regardless of a person’s job they should be knowledgeable in each of the four primary pillars of injection molding: plastic materials, mold design, injection molding, and part design.
We focus on the fundamentals of those pillars; and then take that knowledge deeper by explaining the intrinsic interaction of the variables within each. It is this deeper understanding that helps students develop critical thinking skills while nurturing innovating thinking since they better understand what is required to make a successful plastic part, all the way from the pellets to the parts.
AIM wants to ensure that our courses and programs are tailored to a student’s direct needs. With that in mind, we developed Enrollment Evaluations for several of our programs. These evaluations are given prior to a student enrolling into a some of our programs. This process allows us to act as “guidance counselors” by understanding the person’s current job responsibilities and knowledge level.
Based on the results and personal discussions with the instructors, students, and their managers AIM provides a personalized education pathway that is designed to give a student their best chance at success both for the courses themselves but also for their personal career goals.
Our Research-Based Approach
All of our course content is based on the latest research available, much of which is conducted within our own walls. We continuously revise and update our content to make sure what we are teaching is relevant and based on the latest industry technologies and trends.
Our Learning Model
We recognize that real education takes time. AIM utilizes a research-based pedagogical approach that was designed to give students the best opportunity to retain their new skills.
The typical ‘learning model’ employed by most training programs was designed to get individuals through a course quickly, and then it is up to the individual to employ their skills after they leave. While this model is efficient in pushing students through coursework and checking boxes on employee development plans, it does not give students the best opportunity to retain what they learned. And if individuals aren’t truly learning new skills, those program aren’t nearly as valuable as they could be.
“Whatever your knowledge of injection molding is, whether you are in purchasing, production support, or research and development, you will all gain something extremely valuable from this course. I have received nothing but positive feedback from all divisions of our company after hosting this training. I highly recommend bringing this valuable knowledge into the hands of your teams.” -Injection Molding Development Course
“The opportunity to run a machine unfamiliar and new was a real treat, and the insight from the instructor was helpful for my own confidence moving forward in the field. I would encourage more people to come here to learn. I learned a lot from the course.”
“I want to personally thank you for coming together and creating the content for the Processing section of the PTE program. Directly because of the knowledge gained in this course, I was able to assist in solving a major production problem last week that was not only costing us lost time and money, but was causing repeated damage to a complicated tool. This course contained the techniques, principals and enough practical application to give me the confidence and ability to correctly diagnose and correct a poorly set up process.”