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Extreme Tool & Engineering, Inc. donates equipment to WITC

At a time when the need for skilled machinists is high, one Wakefield company has stepped in to help train potential employees to enter the workforce prepared.  Extreme Tool & Engineering, Inc. has donated a Charmilles D20 Electrical Discharge Machine (EDM) to the machine tool operation (MTO) program at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College’s Ashland Campus. 

Extreme Tool & Engineering, Inc. has donated a Charmilles D20 Electrical Discharge Machine to the machine tool operation program at WITC-Ashland.

“Having an EDM sinker in our Machine Tool Lab will provide an opportunity for all of our students to learn new skills and gain additional experience,” said Mary Stenberg, former campus administrator and vice president of student affairs. 

Machine tool operation instructor Paul Kalin is excited about the donation as well. “Our goal is to train students a variety of machines so they are prepared for diverse industries.  The EDM will help WITC better prepare our graduates for employment with Extreme Tool & Engineering and similar companies,” he said.

Meeting the needs of regional companies is important to Kalin as he designs the curriculum for the machine tool program, and the advisory committee plays a large role.  Mike Zacharias, president of Extreme Tool, serves on the board and saw a way he could help. In addition to providing input, Zacharias provided a piece of equipment that was not currently part of the MTO lab at WITC-Ashland.

“The EDM is one of the technologies that we use at Extreme Tool that WITC didn’t have,” Zacharias said.  “When we recently updated a machine with more automated technology, we felt that the students from WITC could benefit.”

Extreme Tool and other mold-making industries will benefit from the donation as well. “EDM is pretty specific to mold-making industry,” Zacharias said.  “Part of our hope is that by exposing the students to this equipment, they will develop an interest in the industry.”

Although Extreme Tool has no open positions – they recently filled open positions with WITC graduates – many opportunities in the regional manufacturing industry still exist.

“There’s a real need for skilled machinists,” Kalin said.  “We’re talking about good-paying jobs in the $30,000-plus range.  Our graduates often have job offers before they even graduate.”

The MTO program at WITC-Ashland is a one year technical diploma.