Training Students for New Opportunities and New Lives
This article originally appeared on the Department of Commerce’s blog, Commerce.gov. Guest blog post by John Killam, Director of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP).
A U.S. Air National Guard veteran, a high school dropout, a person with a background in sales and a family man who hadn’t been in a classroom for twenty years; four men on very different paths that ultimately led to one destination…the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (MassMEP) Accelerated CNC Program.
Manufacturers across the state express their need for technically trained workers and their concern over the shortage of such workers in the “pipeline.” As “baby boomers” reach retirement age the number of trained CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine operators is declining rapidly. In answer to this shortage, MassMEP and its partners, developed the Accelerated CNC Program, an intense 280-hour, eight-week training that attracts men and women of all ages and backgrounds; with or without past manufacturing or machining experience. Participants are able to graduate with recognized credentials and college credits as well as Lean Manufacturing and OSHA certifications.
Some students want to learn skills to help them enter a new career, while others hope to update their skills for today’s manufacturing environment. Don Auclair had developed manual machining ability throughout his time with the U.S. Air National Guard and in subsequent civilian jobs. He knew that 98 percent of today’s machine shops would require CNC capabilities. A Google search for CNC training brought him to MassMEP’s website. He got details on the program, began the screening process and was selected. Auclair was able to leverage his participation in the training class to land a part-time position at machining company Technimetals to provide him some income during training. This allowed Auclair to demonstrate his work ethic and ability as he developed new skills. The arrangement lead to a full-time job at Technimetals after graduation.
David Prak came to the Accelerated CNC Skills Training program at UMass Lowell from the United Teen Equality Center, a Lowell nonprofit that helps at-risk youth get back on track. “I wanted to make a good life for my daughter, for my family,” Prak shared. After earning his GED, Prak was eager to get out and explore new opportunities. The Accelerated CNC Skills Training interested him. In March, he began working as a machinist with a new joint partnership in the Northeast part of the state. The Advanced CNC Skills Training has put him on a pathway to earn 26 college credits while working at his job, an idea that really appeals to him.
Photo of Matt Krahn who found employment after taking the Accelerated CNC Training class, offered by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP). Read the whole Article