The manufacturing industry has evolved over the past decade. "There are very few ‘level pullers,’” says Paul Kalin, Machine Tool Operation instructor. "The workers are at a higher skill level than ever. They have to have mechanical, computer and math skills.”
Rick Vandervoode, manufacturing manager at Bretting Manufacturing Co, Inc. in Ashland, agrees today's workers need education and training for even entry-level positions.
“The job outlook is excellent” he says. "Speaking for Bretting – looking ahead with our business growing and potential employee losses due to retirements – I see us hiring between three or more individuals per year.”
Kalin works closely with the Machine Tool Operation (MTO) advisory committee to ensure WITC is meeting the needs of industry in the region. The advisory committee provides input to Kalin, who designs the MTO curriculum to meet industry requirements.
This program emphasizes core machining skills and prepares students for a career in the machining industry. Each year students gain valuable experience through work-based learning and capstone projects. One of the most popular projects is the design and manufacture of a chess board complete with chess pieces.
"There will be a huge employee turnover in the next 10 years,” Kalin says. “Industry needs qualified workers to fill these jobs or the jobs will disappear. Recruitment for this program is vital to local industry.”