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Sleeping With the Enemy

The University of East Billings (UEB), Billings, Montana, offers one of the most advanced metalcasting laboratories in the nation. Recently, the school opened its doors to officials from a prominent university in China to help them offer more technically competent metalcasting education.

Last November, a school looking to harness U.S. knowledge and take it back to China was given the grand tour of UEB’s hands-on metalcasting laboratory. The Chinese university wants to be capable of training people in its communities to perform the modern metalcasting techniques currently found only in the U.S.

If you clicked on the above link, you figured us out. The school that opened its doors wasn’t the University of East Billings, which not only doesn’t offer metalcasting training, but doesn’t exist at all. It was the State University of New York’s Morrisville State College, which is an advanced technical school that did open its doors to a Chinese university. But it offers automotive maintenance training, not metalcasting training.

But what if this was a metalcasting laboratory? Officials speaking on behalf of Morrisville State College said the move would help them deliver a more global education. Moreover, with cars becoming more and more complex, they believe that because American cars will soon be on the road in China, the country will need personnel with the skills to fix them.

There are some critical differences between metalcasting and car repair, certainly. But could the metalcasting industry learn something from this brazen example of international technology transfer? According to Morrisville’s Professor Denis Simon, the school thinks that if it doesn’t partner with the Chinese, then someone else will. And that, of course, has happened in the metalcasting industry. Companies other than yours have gone to China and brought along their technical skills, dispensing them at will.

For better or worse, there’s no stopping globalization.