The Anspach Advanced Manufacturing School at Mayland Community College’s Yancey Learning Center graduated its inaugural class. The school opened in April 2015 to offer a two-year degree in applied engineering and training in fields like automation, mechatronics, and design. Its mission is to develop a workforce with up and coming technology, instead of using the traditional method of teaching on obsolete hand-me-downs from corporate upgrades. To date, 72 students have taken classes. Six will get degrees, and many others have received diplomas or certificates. Dr. William Anspach, an orthopedic surgeon who, in his retirement, invents and manufactures tools for neurosurgeons and has led the effort to establish the school. $2.6 million was raised from the private sector, to which he contributed an undisclosed amount. Another donor was BRP Spruce Pine, a manufacturer of recreational vehicles. BRP has 30 to 40 openings for skilled manufacturers, and management is interested in new technology to reduce production times. Students at Anspach enjoy hands-on training with computer numerical control machines, a robotic arm, and a $250,000 3D metal laser printer purchased with a donation from the Duke Energy Foundation. A special barbecue and cake-cutting ceremony was held in the students’ honor prior to the college-wide graduation ceremony.