180 High School Students Attend the First Manufacturing Career Panel Discussion at Elkhorn Area High School in Wisconsin

Michael Reader

Despite an 8” snow fall, on February 27, 2013 180 high school students from Elkhorn, Lake Geneva and William’s Bay gathered at Elkhorn Area High School’s  Wehner Auditorium to listen to a panel of manufacturing professionals discuss the vast possibilities available today in the world of hi-tech manufacturing.  The program was entitled “Elkhorn Area High School – Manufacturing Career Panel.”

This manufacturing awareness initiative began in late July of 2012, when 40 business representatives from Walworth County—most of them manufacturers—met to discuss the skills gap and the increasing demand for skilled manufacturing professionals.   The vision was clear: to strive for the collaboration of businesses, the academic world and legislators in order to validate the impact that the manufacturing sector (or its absence) has on the overall economy of the state and the country.  Additionally, the group agreed to foster initiatives aimed to bring up a new crop of world-class manufacturers through relevant education.   The mission was also clear:  to make the vision happen, and to dispel the current stigma hovering over the notion of pursuing a career in manufacturing.

“The real world of 21st Century manufacturing is totally different than its mid-century predecessor,” comments Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus   “Today, manufacturing is the engine behind every “Top-Gun” pilot’s aircraft, the tools behind every surgeon’s life or death decision, the technique behind every tractor reaping the best of the crop, and even the reality that made the Mars Rover Mission possible. “

“Today’s manufacturing industry is not looking for unskilled workers, but instead, is looking for the cream of the crop,” adds Mike Reader, “Only 3 out of 100 candidates makes the cut. The manufacturing industry needs people who will make James Bond succeed and we’re willing to train them on the job and pay them a salary comparable or even greater than any college graduate.  But they have to have the drive and the will.”

Late in 2012, Precision Plus invited twenty-four area educators to tour its facilities in Elkhorn, WI and to discuss the manufacturing possibilities available for high school graduates in the area. The exchange resulted in the implementation of a program aimed to educate high school students about the reality of a future in manufacturing.  Under the diligent leadership of EAHS’s Career and Technical Education Coordinator JoAnne Pella and the support and endorsement of Principal Tina Bosworth, a Manufacturing Career Panel was organized for February 27, 2013.

The event was formatted as a panel discussion.  The manufacturing professionals panelists were Dan Murphy,  Regional Sales Manager at Rem Sales, LLC; Darlene Miller, President and CEO of Permac Industries; John Murphy, President of Morris Midwest, LLC; Olaf Tessarzyk, Managing Partner of ZPS America, LLC, and Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus  For one and a half hours, the panelists and students engaged in a genuine discussion about the state of the industry and the possibilities manufacturing has available for young people finishing high school.

It was pointed out by the panelists, that the marked difference between a regular college education vs. a technical college education and/or on-the-the-job training was the opportunity to have real-work experience rather than strictly classroom instruction.  A person learning and experiencing the art and science of machining,  may continue on as business owner, as a program developer, design engineer, quality control engineer, management leader or sales professional, to name a few, and have the real-life experience to understand how to transform ideas into reality.  The machining industry opens the doors to limitless possibilities, offering rewarding careers to “Top Gun” candidates, both men and women.

Following the panel discussion, several tours have been scheduled for students to visit area manufacturers.  The next phase in the manufacturing awareness program is to develop internships for high school and college students, to coordinate learning opportunities with local technical colleges and to seek increased support of  local, state and national legislators.

The Jobs are Here, Where are the Candidates? Wisconsin Manufacturing Stats.

Michael Reader

Let’s talk Wisconsin Manufacturing! 5,600 jobs are currently available in manufacturing in the State of Wisconsin and 0 qualified employees to fill them. Precision Plus’s  infographic points out some startling information.

T-1 to Elkhorn Area High School’s Manufacturing Career Panel!

Michael Reader

Tomorrow, Wednesday 27, 2013 marks the launch date of the Elkhorn Area High School Manufacturing Career Initiative!  The event will take place at the Wehner Auditorium at Elkhorn Area High School at two scheduled times:  from 1pm until 2:30pm and from 7pm until 8:30 pm. Students and parents are welcome to participate.  The event will feature a panel of manufacturing executives who will answer questions from the audience.  The panel is comprised of these manufacturing executives:  Daniel J Murphy, Regional Sales Manager for Rem Sales, LLC, Darlene M. Miller, President and CEO of Permac Industries, John T. Murphy, President of Morris Midwest, LLC, Michael J. Reader, President/Owner of Precision Plus, and Olaf Tessarzyk, Managing Partner of ZPS America, LLC.

The driving force behind this initiative, however,  is Business Education Teacher JoAnne Pella, who understands the importance of manufacturing in the business matrix who insists in teaching it to her students and educating their parents about the possibilities of 21st Century manufacturing.

As of the end of the day today, more than 200 students are planning to attend this conference and we look forward to having two exceptional sessions.

For more information, please contact JoAnne Pella via email, or by phoning her at 262-723-4920, extension 1637.



The subject of the meetings will be skills gap occurring in manufacturing today

Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch to Tour Precision Plus on Friday, February 22, 2013

Michael Reader

February 19, 2013, Elkhorn, WI – In a continued effort to increase Wisconsin’s in-state manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace and aviation sector, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch will tour the facilities of Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  She will be joined by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC)  Executive Director Reed Hall and Communications Manager Tom Thieding.

The purpose of this tour and discussion is to present Lt. Governor Kleefisch with a clear picture of Wisconsin’s manufacturing supply chain, showing how the State can benefit from developing additional manufacturing opportunities.  By engaging State agencies in promoting advanced manufacturing targeting the aerospace and aviation industries, the State of Wisconsin can also benefit from the growth potential offered through this type of business development.

“We are excited to have the Lt. Governor and WEDC Executive Director tour our manufacturing facility,” said Precision Plus President Michael Reader.  “It is critical to the State’s economy for us to work together in promoting advanced manufacturing as we offer great career opportunities and compensation packages for highly-skilled machinists and support personnel.”

Precision Plus is a high-precision machining and solution provider to numerous OEMs around the world.  With over 8 million dollars spent on state-of-the-art machining equipment over the past 5 years, and a staff of highly-skilled machinists, Precision Plus has been recognized as a leading supplier of Swiss-type and CNC-turned components.  The company was recommended to WEDC by a large aerospace group as a supplier well-positioned to help grow Wisconsin’s aerospace and aviation industries.  Mr. Reader added, “Let’s put hard working Wisconsinites back to work in rewarding careers and grow our way out of this economic slump”.

The event will take place on Friday, February 22 from 3:45pm until 5:00pm (originally scheduled from 9:30am until 10:45am ) and Precision Plus cordially invites the news media and press to partake in the tour and discussion.  Precision Plus is located at 840 Koopman Ln., Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121.  Should this tour need to be rescheduled due to anticipated weather conditions in our area, it will be announced on our social media channels and on this blog.

Precision Plus is devoted to bringing manufacturing back the United States through awareness and education and actively promotes its vision within the State of Wisconsin and the country.

For more information on this event, please contact Michael Reader at (262) 743-1700 x105 or via electronic mail.

An Infographic That Tells The Story of America’s Skills Gap: A Growing Crisis for Skilled Labor

Michael Reader

A picture is worth 1,000 words. There is a growing crisis for skilled labor and this infographic by tells the story., plain and simple, supplies work boots to those who need them.  Their job does not stop there, however.  They simply understand that with a limited number of people available to replace the retiring skilled labor force, it is not only their industry that might suffer, but also our country as a whole.  To address this dire situation, has partnered up with Skills USA to bring awareness to it.  They have also designed the infographic above to make the point loudly and clearly.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce, helping each student excel.  SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

Let’s work together to change the outcome sooner than later!  Precision Plus is proud to be part of the equation.


HollenWolff Follow Up

Michael Reader

Wisconsin’s own HollenWoff, the high-end bearing-lock cuff link designer, has once again been featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in this article by Kathleen Gallagher published on January 3, 2013. Precision Plus is mentioned therein as having partnered up with HollenWolff to manufacture the luxurious cuff links.

HollenWolff and its story was first featured on our blog in August of 2012.

Two New Miyanos Just Arrived at Precision Plus

Michael Reader

Twice the fun!

We have just added two brand new Miyano ABX-TH3 lathes with magazine bar-feeders and high pressure pumps. These precision turning machines will accept bars up to 64 mm (2.51969″) diameter, have triple 12-station turrets and expand our lineup of ABX machines to a total of six.

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The left and right upper turrets are equipped with Y-axis functions and the lower turret is equipped with a long Z-axis slide traverse enabling complex processing simultaneously on the left and right spindles, for high efficiency.  The ABX-TH3 lathes are designed to provide the most productive processing of precision parts to date. See the Miyano ABX-TH3’s full specs here.

Besides providing innovative technology, Citizen Machinery Miyano Co., Ltd., manufacturers of the ABX-TH3 lathes, also have a strong environmentally forward program in place that promotes energy and resource savings, recycling, and contamination prevention.

Our new Miyano ABX-TH3 additions have increased our manufacturing capabilities, and we look forward to continue to work with our customers to supply them with precision components to their specification.

Are the $370 Million Wisconsin Receives in Federal Job Training Funds Efficiently Spent?

Michael Reader

“If Wisconsin wants to make a dent in the skills gap, the state will have to make some serious investments in job training, advocates discussed at a luncheon in Brookfield Thursday,” writes  Jeff Engel, Reporter for The Business Journal, who regularly reports about the manufacturing industry and technology  in the state of Wisconsin. He also writes extensively about the skills gap issue and the disparity between manufacturers struggling to find talent versus high unemployment rates.

Tim Sullivan (Photo courtesy of Scott Paulus)

On November 8, 2012, the Tech Council and the Milwaukee Chapter of its Wisconsin Innovation Network hosted a discussion to review recent studies and researches done on Wisconsin’s current investment of its job training funds.  According to Tim Sullivan, former Bucyrus International, Inc. CEO and current unpaid consultant for business and work force development for the state, the roughly $370 million in federal job training funds the state receives are “not highly effective or efficiently spent.”  According to a recent report by Competitive Wisconsin Inc., Wisconsin currently invests less than $15 million in discretionary job training funds.  Additionally, a recently-released study by ManpowerGroup, Milwaukee, studied the topic and made some recommendations to bridge the talent gap.

All involved in the conversation agreed that that there is a talent shortage in Wisconsin which will become prevalently increasing as the current work force reaches retirement age.  Although the recommendations for solving this problem varied, the conclusion was that this was an imminent problem.  It was suggested that the manufacturing sector should also partake in the rebuilding of the manufacturing trade work force.

States such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota, who are actively increasing the funds dedicated to these types of initiatives, were cited as models that work.

Attending the meeting also was Linda Salchenberger, Marquette University associate provost for academic planning and budgeting and co-chair of the Competitive Wisconsin study, who said the initiative didn’t just call for the state government to “simply throw money at the problem,“ but do to it in a way where state grants would match funds raised by businesses, economic development agencies and other groups for targeted initiatives with a proven talent need.”

Vocational Education and Training – The Swiss Answer To Unemployment

Michael Reader

With unemployment rate of 2.8%, the country of Switzerland is coming under increased observation by other industrial countries to discover its secret.  The consensus of opinion seems to be that its unique educational system is the most likely answer.

Swiss industries in cooperation with the educational system have devised a program referred to as Vocational Education and Training (VET).  The compulsory education for a Swiss child ends at nine years.  After this, they have the option of continuing their education in two different tracks.  Those children that want a career in academics can continue in the traditional school-based learning track, and those that are seeking a trade or vocation can enter into the VET program.  This program is a combination of classroom work and apprenticeship programs.  At present over 50% of the youth in Switzerland are choosing this track.

The VET program has the youth in the classroom for 1 to 2 days out of the week with the rest of the work week being spent at the host company of their apprenticeship. The course work at the VET schools is determined by the trade organizations that help run the schools.  This keeps the studies in line with the skills that are most needed in the market place. These programs tend to last for 3 to 4 years depending on the field of study.  Youth studying in these programs are then awarded a Federal diploma after passing their final exam. The youth that pass this test are also able to go onto a specialized university program in their field.  One of the aspects that have been found as most intriguing is the use of other businesses to sign off on the work that the apprentice is doing for the host-company, offering a transparency in the industry as well as a cohesive manner of maintaining the standards for those particular industry apprenticeships.

The current statistics show that around 58,000 companies are providing up to 80,000 apprenticeships.  These are presented to the lower secondary schools every year to enable the parents and students to know what is available.  The result of the training and expense is that most of the youth can expect to enter into a vocation with a starting salary of $50,000 or more.  Although this program is funded by the private sector, the output generated by the apprentices is seen to cover the cost and the end result is a trained labor force with the skills for the jobs that are available and needed.

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