Blackhawk Technical College Relocates Its Advanced Manufacturing Center to Milton, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

From the moment someone walks through the doors of the new facilities of Blackhawk Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Center in Milton, Wisconsin, there is no question that it will be an awe-striking experience.

Subtly reminding visitors that the perception of ‘dark and dirty manufacturing’ is clearly a thing of the past, the entire facility gleams with impeccable setups for students to learn different aspects of the art of manufacturing.

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Precision Plus is proud to support this organization and its endeavors. Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, serves on the Blackhawk Technical College Career and Technical Education Committee. The committee is required to meet twice a year and the meetings are open to the public. One of the main focuses of the committee is to develop curricula that is flexible enough to support work/study schedules. In addition to being able to complete a two-year degree with a variety of manufacturing specializations, students can return at later points to add certifications.

A prime example of how Blackhawk is addressing the work/school balance is student Brad Pearson, who was a Precision Plus apprentice last year and continues to work for the company on a part-time basis, but is also attending Blackhawk Technical College pursuing a CNC Technical Degree.

Precision Plus congratulates Blackhawk Technical College on launching such as state-of-the-art facility.

PMPA National Technical Conference to Take Place in Wheeling, Illinois – April 21-24, 2012

Michael Reader

PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) will be holding its annual national technical conference at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois.

According to the organizers, “The precision machining industry relies on the best and the brightest people in manufacturing to produce safety critical parts for numerous applications.  There is not a trade that has more advanced tools, machinery, or people.  PMPA’s 2012 National Technical Conference has been designed to further develop the technical, quality and managerial talents of the people in shops.”

There will be a number of conference sessions ranging from new technology, shop safety, the quoting process, to critical thinking and many more.  The keynote speaker for the conference will be Krish Dhanam whose “Top Performance” keynote will be sure to inspire those who hear it.

The program will include certification workshops in “Critical Process Thinking in the Quality Profession,” and “Leadership Gold.”  There will also be track sessions targeted to three groups of personnel: technical, quality, and management.  Both the certification programs and the track sessions are geared to the continuous improvement of precision machinists.

Photo courtesy of PMPA

Seventy exhibitors will also be showcasing the latest in technology and will be on hand to discuss with attendees.

Both members and non-members of PMPA are welcomed to attend this conference.  PMPA members are encouraged to sponsor a prospective member or a student.

Precision Plus’  Bill Wells, serves as a senior advisor to the PMPA’s National Technical Conference.  We believe the conference delivers a strong message to the importance of U.S. manufacturing.

For more information about attending this conference, please contact Monte Guitar at 440-526-0300, visit the PMPA’s National Technical Conference website, or scan the QR code below.


Michael Reader

Call it a conundrum of sorts…in a down economy, when jobs are scarce while unemployment soars, the manufacturing sector struggles to find qualified candidates to fill available jobs.

Some refer to this void as the “perfect storm:” manufacturing being outsourced abroad, Baby Boomers in manufacturing approaching retirement age, and Gen-Exers and Milleniums pursuing broader-ranged careers.

In October of 2011, and in response to the lack of available talent to fill manufacturing positions, The Manufacturing Institute launched a fast-track education and training program called “RIGHT SKILLS NOW.”  Based on the National Association of Manufacturers’ Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, the program is designed to provide accelerated, intense training and education to  potential workers, who upon completion of the 16 to 22-week program are able to meet the demands expected in precision machining jobs in manufacturing.

RIGHT SKILLS NOW is a grass root movement backed by some formidable partners:  The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, The Manufacturing Institute, ACT, Inc.,  and The National Institute for Metalworking Skills.  The scope of the program involves aspects from professionalism in the workplace, integrity, communication, problem solving, and CNC milling and turning.

Several schools around the U.S., including Minnesota and Nevada, have already set up and implemented curricula for  “RIGHT SKILLS NOW” programs.  The first graduates are expected to receive their certificates in mid 2012.

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