"Just In Time" Training Prepares Workforce for Machining Jobs
Thirteen adult students graduated from a "Just in Time" Basic Machining Training program organized by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG) and delivered by North Central Michigan College. The 190-hour curriculum was designed by manufacturing employers in Charlevoix, Emmet and Antrim Counties. The training focused on the fundamentals of machine operation, a technical skill in high demand by local employers.
"It's a good course," said Milt Kniss, operations manager at Precision Edge in Boyne City. "It gives them all the basics they need to get a good start."
The students are adult residents of northern lower Michigan who are currently unemployed or underemployed, and are learning new skills for a new career. They have participated in 160 hours of training, most of it hands-on at the Charlevoix High School machine shop, and have completed an additional 30 hours of job shadowing at local manufacturing facilities. The students are proficient in print reading; shop math; measuring and use of calipers, micrometers and gauges of all types; safety; metallurgy; and milling and lathe machine operation. They have also received introductory instruction in Computer Numerical Control (CNC), statistical process control, and Kaizen continuous quality improvement.
"Knowing all of the skills makes you more valuable at your job," said Jonah Duncan, a student who is already working at Precision Edge.
With the resurgence of manufacturing, the machining occupation is in high-demand. Some of the demand is from new jobs, while much demand is from an aging workforce, with no young talent pool to fill the gap. Manufacturers have visited the class to hand out job applications to the students.
"The manufacturing employers that I serve are really excited about the job candidates emerging from this class," said Angie Ross, Northwest Michigan Works! Business Liaison. "Some of these students qualify for additional on-the-job training incentives, which will help employers to continue training them on company-specific tasks and will give these students a leg-up on their careers."
Manufacturing employers in northern Michigan are seeking to hire skilled workers for positions that range from $9 - $14 per hour. Most manufacturing employers also provide health and retirement benefits. Besides getting students ready for those jobs, the Basic Machining Training has also prepared them to start down the career path to becoming CNC machinists, with opportunities to earn $15 - $25 per hour.
"There are huge opportunities for us out there so we're all looking forward to the end of class and being able to shop ourselves around," said Dave Armstrong, one of the students.
Employers interested in job candidates and training incentives should contact Angie Ross at Northwest Michigan Works! at 231-439-5213.
"Just in Time" training is a newer, flexible training package offered through Northwest Michigan Works! The program offers short-term, intensive occupational training opportunities to unemployed and underemployed adults. Each “Just in Time” training session is designed to meet the immediate hiring needs of local employers; the curriculum is uniquely targeted to teach the most in-demand skills. Northwest Michigan Works! managed a "Just in Time" Welding Training in Charlevoix County earlier this year, and plans to run additional training sessions in Traverse City and Cadillac in 2013.
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