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Precision Plus Welcomes Two Youth Apprentices and Two Gateway Youth CNC Boot Camp Students

Michael Reader

Youth Apprentices

Jordan Belanus, a senior at Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, WI and Jake Sherwin, a senior at Big Foot High School in Walworth, WI, have joined Precision Plus’ Youth Apprentice Program.

Jordan Belanus began working as an Information Technology (IT) youth apprentice at Precision Plus (PPI) on November 9, 2015, reporting to Jeff Lemmermann, the company’s CIO and CFO. The IT apprenticeship adheres to the IT Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development.

Items on the checklist vary from soft skills such as communicating effectively and thinking critically, to job-specific skills such as upgrading an operating system or installing software. The checklist serves as a guideline to help the apprentice obtain designated competencies.

Jordan enjoys working on computers for friends and family, having developed an affinity for programming and networking. As an IT apprentice, he will also be putting those skills to work, performing back up operations, upgrading operating systems and installing software as needed. He will also assist to process employee IT help requests. As his internship progresses, Jordan should be able to perform certain tasks of his own volition, rather than being directed to do so.

In order to receive a certificate for his internship, Jordan must complete 450 total hours of work by August 2016. By state law, however, he cannot exceed 20 hours per week. He learned about PPI’s apprenticeship opportunity through his school’s career and technical education coordinator.

At Elkhorn Area High School, Jordan’s favorite subjects are algebra, physics and geometry. He plans to attend Gateway Technical College in the fall of 2016 and subsequently use its 2-plus-2 articulation agreements with the University of Wisconsin or with Milwaukee School of Engineering to continue his education in computer engineering.

In his spare time, Jordan enjoys playing video games, playing guitar, and practicing Tae Kwon Do, for which he holds a second-degree black belt.

Jake Sherwin began his manufacturing apprenticeship with PPI on November 2, 2015. He reports to Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training.

The manufacturing apprenticeship follows the Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development for that purpose. The first part of the apprenticeship will include a general assessment of Jake’s math skills, micrometer and blueprint reading skills and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) interpretative skills.

After the first phase is completed, Jake will spend time with mentors from different departments to learn skills and applications from them first hand. Jake will be completing the core skills and machining unit of the Production Pathway of the Skill Standards Checklist.   Mentors will sign off on the acquired competencies at the end of their mentoring.

The curriculum at PPI goes hand in hand, with Jake’s curriculum at Big Foot High School. Jake learned about the apprenticeship opportunity at Precision Plus when Mark Beilman spoke to his technical education class in September. Jake knows that he wants to work in the trades—most likely in construction—after his graduation. However, he enjoys the science and agriculture classes he is taking, as well as helping with his family’s farm. In addition, he works part-time at Heyer True Value Hardware Store in Walworth, Wisconsin, so he is keeping his options open. His apprenticeship will also require him to complete 450 hours by August 2016.

When time permits, Jake enjoys hunting and fishing, baseball, and playing bass guitar in a band.

 

Youth CNC Boot Camp Students

Two Gateway students, currently enrolled in Gateway Technical College (GTC)’s Elkhorn Campus Youth CNC Boot Camp have begun their job shadowing experience at Precision Plus, as part of their current semester requirements.

Monday through Friday, Elliot Salentine from East Troy High School and Cameron Bunne from Elkhorn High School attend high school in the morning, followed by classes and training at GTC from 12:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon. As they learn different processes and applications at school, a concurrent shadowing program lends them the opportunity to watch professionals performing those jobs. Each student spends one hour per week at PPI to meet those requirements.

Thus far, the students have shadowed Marty Baumgardner in the Quality Assurance Lab, Ryan Landreman and Brad Pearson on the Miyano platform, and Curtis Hibl in the CAM Department. The shadowing will continue on the Tornos platform, the Secondary Department, the Scheduling Department and, finally, the Shipping Department.

Elliot and Cameron will continue their high school/boot camp schedule until the spring semester begins on February 2, 2016. At that time, they will attend their high school classes in the mornings, but will participate in a mentoring program at Precision Plus in the afternoon, learning and working in different departments. The mentoring phase will end in May 2016. The students will receive high school and boot camp credits for their experience at the company.

Although the Youth CNC Boot Camp mentoring program is similar to the Youth Apprenticeship program already in place, possible modifications may be made based on the students’ incoming skill level.

Cameron and Elliot are members of the first Youth CNC Boot Camp to graduate from GTC’s Elkhorn Campus in Walworth County. The program had already been running successfully at GTC’s other two locations in Racine and Kenosha.

For more information about Precision Plus’ apprenticeship and mentoring programs, please contact Mark Beilman via email or by calling 262-743-1700.

 

Milwaukee 7 Summit Meets to Discuss Steps to Attract Talent to Manufacturing

Michael Reader

Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, attended the October 1, 2015 Milwaukee 7 Summit, which was themed, “Attracting Talent to Manufacturing.” The Milwaukee 7 (M7) Talent Partnership at the Manpower Group’s facility in Milwaukee hosted the half-day summit.

The constant challenge of attracting, recruiting, hiring and retaining top talent, especially in industries such as manufacturing where technology is regularly changing and a shortage of highly skilled personnel is apparent, has caused HR professionals and businesses at large to consider new rules of engagement utilizing tools that could result in the perfect employee/employer match.

The summit’s agenda included a keynote presentation by Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin, who shared the critical advantages that make Southeast Wisconsin “a great place to live, work and play.” Following, George Bolgrem, Culture Strategy Director at The Good Jobs and Council Member and Talent Attraction Committee Co-Chair at M7, presented the M7 Talent Attraction & Retention Kit.

Subsequently, there was a panel discussion by area manufacturers and HR professionals: Angie Kasten, Recruitment & Organizational Development Specialist at Palermo’s Pizza; Rachel Lloyd, Human Resources Manager at Glenroy, Inc.; Waylon Gross, Workforce Development and Training Program Manager at Kenall Manufacturing, Patrick Jungenblut, Applications Engineering Manager at Hermle Machine Company; and Natalie Glumm, Manufacturing Sales Manager at Midland Plastics, Inc..  Alicia Dupies, VP of Community Relations at the Milwaukee Bucks moderated the panel.   A Q&A session concluded the summit.

Mark Beilman recounts,

“Overall, it was a very informative summit. George Blogrem’s tool kit presentation for improving a company’s culture and attract talent was on point with remarks such as:

  • Culture/Brand: Be authentic, relevant, consistent and different. Culture is most important to new hires, who want to be part of the team. Communicate culture and brand through employee testimonials, job postings, videos and website.
  • Hiring: Have an effective “welcome on board” program, assign a mentor, give clear description of goals, ask for feedback.
  • Retaining: Conduct micro surveys to gather feedback on what is working and what is not. Make employees feel valued.
  • Referrals: There is no better way to recruit than actual employees recruiting future ones.  Have an effective incentive-based program in place.

 

Peter Feigin spoke about the corporate brand and reinvesting in the community.

The panelists addressed recruitment, retention, and the difficulty in finding skilled employees. Two of the companies represented on the panel, Kenall Manufacturing and Hermle Machine Company, have programs in place that include talking to high school students about careers in manufacturing, and they both work closely with Milwaukee Area Technical College and Gateway Technical College to align their curriculums with the needs of area manufacturers. The other panelists acknowledged that school involvement was a viable route to take in order to improve the availability of prospective employees.”

Almost 150 people attended the summit. The Milwaukee 7 Talent Partnership aligns regional talent resources with high-growth industry clusters, resulting in a stronger, more agile workforce.

 

Millennials in Manufacturing – Precision Plus’ Interns Featured in Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce Video

Michael Reader

Several of Elkhorn, WI’s Precision Plus’s summer college or college-bound interns were recently interviewed to get their take on working at a 21st century high tech manufacturing facility. The video was produced by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce, to celebrate Wisconsin Manufacturing Month.

Here are some of the comments from the interns:

  • “You create something from a piece of bar.”
  • “You can touch and see something you drew on the computer”
  • “You get to operate machinery that’s really expensive and they trust you.”
  • “In the classroom, you learn all of the logistics, but here you actually get to do it.”
  • “You look forward to the challenges, but you know that if you get stuck, you can ask someone.”
  • “Expectations are not right. This is not a manufacturing plant from the 1800s!”
  • “You’re just not sitting down. You’re constantly moving!”

Precision Plus is proud to have both internship and apprenticeship programs that connect millennials with manufacturing, providing hands-on experience that is bound to contribute to their future and the future of our country.

For more information on Precision Plus’ internship and apprenticeship programs, please contact Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training by email, or by phone at 262-743-1700.

Production Machining Magazine Features Precision Plus’s Internship Program

Michael Reader

Production Machining Magazine’s Chris Koepfer, Editor in Chief, writes a monthly column to its readership, expressing his thoughts on certain topics. In September of 2015, his column focused on talent acquisition and featured Precision Plus as a game changer.

Koepfer recounted a recent trip to visit Horn, a cutting tool manufacturer in southern Germany. Horn, as most companies in Europe regardless of size, has an apprenticeship program in place. This manufacturer regularly employs 60 apprentices, contributing to the creation of a pipeline of qualified manufacturing professionals.

Koepfer remarks that although the U.S. lags behind, there is a “maker movement” afoot, a grassroots initiative which has begun to change the course of manufacturing. In his column, he spotlights Wisconsin’s Precision Plus and President Mike Reader as examples of what some manufacturers are doing to promote the trend, including establishing internship and apprenticeship programs that nurture future manufacturing professionals. “The idea is to give these candidates real-life experience on the shop floor with the goal of showing that manufacturing’s historic image is simply not relevant in a modern shop.”

For a PDF of this article, please click HERE.
To read it online on Production Machining Magazine, click HERE.

Precision Plus appreciates the recognition and thanks Chris Koepfer and Production Machining Magazine for the inclusion.

 

What Manufacturers Can Do to Attract, Retain and Keep Connected with Employees

Michael Reader

On September 18, 2015, the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, in cooperation with the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Bank Mutual and Sikich, presented the Wisconsin Manufacturing Summit 2015, which took place at The Wisconsin Club Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mary Spaight, HR Coordinator, and Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus attended the conference.

The keynote presenter was Christine McMahon, whose program entitled “Workforce Strategies: Attraction. Retention. Connection.,” addressed a hot topic among prospective employees: “Why should I work here?” This topic is especially of importance to the manufacturing industry, which is plagued with a shortage of high-skilled personnel. McMahon spoke about the role which company culture plays in answering that question, as well as about taking tangible steps for attracting and retaining the right talent.

Talent procurement is an ever-changing science that adjusts to current social sentiments. Employees are looking for a total proposition and a corporate culture they can trust. McMahon cited a statistic, which indicates that a high trust culture yields, on average, 30 percent better performance.

So, what makes a company a great place to work, and how can employees and employers be sure that it is a right match? McMahon suggests pre-qualifying employees by outlining the qualities which a successful candidate must possess for the position, prevents future disconnects and discords.

Jeff Lemmermann, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer at Precision Plus explains that the company currently gives every prospective employee a short survey which creates a ‘Predictive Index’ (PI). “This index provides an insight into what motivates each person, as well as their preferred internal style of giving and receiving information,” he continues. “This is essential in placing someone in the right position or team. The survey does not measure any type of skill level, but addresses the type of situations in which the employee can best engage.” Precision Plus has been using the PI program for workforce analytics since 2011.

Talent acquisition often carries a pricey investment tag, which includes advertising, marketing, interviewing and training, among other costs. What can companies do to retain their employees? McMahon suggested that hiring an employee is only the beginning of the journey. Employees must have a feeling of inclusiveness from the get go, need to feel the company’s story, and must be on board with the company’s values.

Additionally, employees must have clear performance expectations as well as a clear knowledge of what they can expect from the company. “Performance reviews are going away,” said McMahon, “being replaced by ongoing documented performance conversations and real-time feedback that can correct or improve performance midstream.”

Lemmermann states that transparency and understanding members’ style is vital for team building and team cooperation. Employees at Precision Plus are encouraged to learn each other’s predictive index in order to have a better understanding of how people prefer to communicate and work together.

Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Campus Launches First Midwest Micro Machining Advanced Manufacturing Lab

Michael Reader

By Dana Runimas-Plazyk
Reporting for Precision Plus

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Bryan Albrecht, President of Gateway Technical College (GTC), about the launch of a micro machining (Swiss screw machining) advanced manufacturing facility at the school’s Elkhorn, WI Campus.

When Albrecht joined GTC as its president in 2006, he was charged with creating curricula that directly responded to the need for a highly skilled workforce by Southeast Wisconsin employers, imperative to have in place in order to grow the local economy. He began his tenure by holding “listening sessions,” with local businesses, to enable GTC to understand that need.

The requests were vast and included a ready workforce need for manufacturing, HVAC, IT, health sciences, aeronautic, automotive, hospitality, law enforcement and everything in between. Over the last nine years, many programs have been developed and are successfully in place, addressing the needs of the local business community. Today, Gateway Technical College operates from three campuses in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties, and offers advance technical certificates, associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates, some online classes, and dual enrollment options with the University of Wisconsin, Parkside.

“On an annual basis, 23,000 students attend Gateway,” says Albrecht. “We currently offer 100 certificate programs and 65 degree programs. Last week alone, we graduated EMS technicians, certified police officers, and SharePoint developers. Additionally, we are working with primary and secondary schools on K12 articulation.”

However, Albrecht points out that in as much as the workforce needs of manufacturers in Kenosha and Racine counties had been met, GTC “couldn’t wrap up” their thoughts for the needs of manufacturers in Walworth County.

He recalls meeting Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, in 2012 at a career and technical education advisory committee meeting. “Mike’s concern about the lack of a qualified workforce to address the requirements of Walworth County manufacturers struck a chord,” says Albrecht. “Mike and Precision Plus were adamant about changing the situation, and had launched, single-handedly, an educational initiative geared to correct this issue, while bringing attention to–and gaining the support of–educators, organizations and legislators.”

“Changing the situation would also require higher-level technical education,” reflects Albrecht. “Both the Racine and Kenosha Campuses offered associate degrees in manufacturing and machine tool, as well as CNC programs. None was available in Walworth County.” Albrecht recalls Reader’s words: “We have to get this done, Bryan.”

Albrecht considers Mike Reader “a true champion,” who enlisted the help of fellow manufacturers, vendors, customers, legislators, educators, students, and organizations to “get things rolling.” A preliminary study conducted by GTC indicated Walworth County was one of two national hubs (the other being Kosciusko County, IN) for Swiss-type precision manufacturers (micromachining), and that the absence of technically skilled employees to run the specialized equipment, made it hard to grow the local economy.

Albrecht presented Gateway’s Board of Trustees with a plan: To expand the Walworth Campus to include a state-of-art manufacturing center, offering the traditional manufacturing programs already in place at the other two campuses, plus a unique Swiss screw (micromachining) advanced manufacturing program. The latter, would make Gateway Technical College the first institution in the Midwest to offer this specialized training, also contributing to better position Wisconsin in the overall global market.

The current plans for the new manufacturing center include remodeling of the the Elkhorn Campus South Building and an expansion which will bring the total area dedicated to the center to 4,000 sq. ft. The center (yet to be named) will house welding, fabrication, rapid prototype, computer aided design (CAD), engineering, and full-scale precision machining labs. The footprint construction will start in November with an estimated Spring of 2016 completion date.

GTC’s Manufacturing Center officially opened over the summer by offering a Youth CNC Boot Camp, a program designed for high school seniors to finish the school year with a high school degree and a CNC operator certificate.

The CNC adult programs will begin to be offered at the Elkhorn Campus in September.   “We have recently added two new instructors, as all CNC classes at all three campuses are fully enrolled,” adds Albrecht.

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Equipment has been steadily arriving to the new manufacturing center over the last couple of months, and Albrecht reiterates that the total endeavor would not have been possible without Mike Reader’s resolve, his ability to see the big picture, and his talent to simultaneously engage all the pieces that were needed to make the center a reality.

Thus far, four brand new Haas ST-10 lathes, one Tsugami S205 CNC Swiss machine, and an MTA barfeeder are already in place thanks to the tremendous help from Brad Morris of The Morris Group, and Jamie Schwartz of CNC Indexing & Feeding Technologies. Precision Plus not only assisted with the equipment installation, but also with a generous donation of $50,000, which facilitated the purchase of the equipment. Plans are to have at least eight Haas machines, 4 turning and 4 vertical machining centers, when the center is in full operation.

Industry support for GTC’s manufacturing center has been unprecedented, notably, a long-term agreement reached by GTC with Hanan Fishman of PartMaker who will provide computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software for students in the center. Also, a recent $2,500 tool donation by Grainger for the CNC Boot Camp, will contribute to the student experience.

On August 15, 2015, Mike Reader and Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus, toured the repurposed space housing the equipment. “We met with Dean of Students Michael O’Donnell and instructor JD Jones,” mentions Reader. “We had a great meeting and everyone is excited about the new equipment rolling in.”

The next few months promise to be exciting for the Elkhorn Campus of Gateway Technical College, and for the local industry, community, and economy. Precision Plus thanks Dr. Albrecht for his time to conduct this interview, and looks forward to continue to report on the progress of Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Campus’s new manufacturing center.

Precision Plus Continues On Its Manufacturing Pilgrimage, Leaving No Classroom Unturned

Michael Reader

On May 15, 2015, Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, representing Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, visited three 4th grade classes at Tibbits Elementary School in the Elkhorn Area School District. Earlier in the year, Butters visited second and third graders to create excitement about manufacturing…or making things from scratch, as the school had recently embarked in Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) Launch Program for young elementary school students.


However, being with the 4th graders allowed Butters to take the excitement to the next level. “This allowed me to use the Inventor software to probe the students understanding of two dimensional shapes and what happens when the shapes are extruded to a third dimension,” he said, “as when a circle extruded becomes a cylinder.”

Following the presentation, students were able to pick up and explore some of the parts made by Precision Plus, with a better understanding of the process from beginning to end.


Precision Plus thanks the Tibbits Elementary School students and their teachers for their time and attention, and shares their kind thank you notes.

Exploring the Manufacturing Public Perception Gap: A Study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte

Michael Reader

Jointly, The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte have recently published a study entitled “The 5th U.S. Public Opinion of Manufacturing,” addressing public perception.

Americans, according to the study, “remain steadfast in their support of manufacturing.” Disconcerting, however, is the fact that there is a gap in the interest shown by Americans to pursue long-term careers in manufacturing.

Click to See a Larger Version

According to the study, 90% of Americans think manufacturing is “very important to economic prosperity,” yet only half of all Americans think that manufacturing jobs can be interesting and rewarding.  U.S. investment in the manufacturing industry is supported by an overwhelming 82% of Americans, yet only 33% of parents would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Lack of information appears to be a direct influencer on general perception, as the study also shows that those who better understand the possibilities in advanced manufacturing, are more likely to favorably change their perception.

Download a copy of the infographic here, or directly from The Manufacturing Institute.

Barry Butters of Precision Plus Speaks at the 2015 PMPA National Technical Conference in Columbus, OH

Michael Reader

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus in Elkhorn, WI spoke to a wide audience during the 2015 Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) National Technical Conference, which took place on April 19-21, 2015, in Columbus, OH. His presentation centered on Precision Plus’ active plan to help close the skills gap in manufacturing.

PMPA’s 54th Annual National Technical Conference focused on technical innovation, quality advancements and shop management, offering attendees a variety of seminars on subjects needed to meet today’s precision manufacturing challenges.

In addition to Butters, six other members of the Precision Plus Team attended the conference: Mike Brown, John McConville and Sam Kirkland, Machinists, Terry Mumper, Engineer,  Dale Wittlieff, Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement, and  Bill Wells, Sales and Engineering Manager.

On Monday, April 20th, during a session entitled, “How to Deal with the Skilled Training Issue,” Butters shared Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development,” currently used by the company, in an effort to close the manufacturing skills gap.

In his presentation, Butters talked about Precision Plus, its plan to double its capacity, and the absence of qualified employees to operate machines that do the work that used to be done by people in the past. He also addressed the overall perception of manufacturing based on “what it was then,” and the lack of information of “what it is now.” Whereas in the past, a high school student who may not be doing great in school would have been a prime candidate to go into manufacturing, today’s industry requires individuals who have high technical and math skills as well as strong soft skills.

In a 2012 News Magazine 60 Minutes interview, Professor Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, stated that even as late as a generation ago, manufacturing companies had training and apprenticeship programs in place, but over the last few decades that responsibility shifted primarily to technical colleges. As technology advanced, the curricula offered by technical colleges drifted away from the actual skills needed for professionals in manufacturing. Cappelli suggested that manufacturers needed to be involved in the training of prospective employees in one way or another.

After listening to this segment, Mike Reader, president of Precision Plus decided to get involved. “What’s the return on investment on doing nothing?” Reader asked.

Butters used Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development” slideshow presentation to showcase the initiatives taken by Mike Reader and Precision Plus over the last two and a half years to get involved and become a catalyst. These efforts included hiring Butters, an educator, to help deploy the playbook. In 2013, Reader had organized a Manufacturing Career Panel at a local high school, which was attended by more than one hundred area students. When students asked about internship availability, Reader knew something had to be done.

Today, Precision Plus offers a summer internship program for young people typically becoming mechanical engineers, as well as a school-year apprenticeship program for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.

Both programs expose students to all aspects of manufacturing and have been designed on a rotating department basis. In addition, students go on tours and attend tradeshows, among other activities. Parent involvement is key, as they must tour the facility before their child is accepted into either program.

In addition, Precision Plus is involved with local schools at all levels, from elementary through college. The company is a member of several career and technical education (CTE) committees, has brought more than 90 teachers, counselors and career coaches through the facility, and has welcomed students on field trips. In addition, Barry Butters has traveled to schools and has addressed students at all levels. Precision Plus also offers a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering design and development (EDD) class, taught by Butters in the Precision Plus classroom to local high school students.

Having community support is crucial, so the public at large is regularly invited to tour the plant and learn about today’s manufacturing. Precision Plus has also reached out to vendors and customers to help enrich the experience, and has brought manufacturing industry awareness to local, state and national legislators, having had high ranking public officials across party lines tour the plant and engage in conversation, in an effort to find common ground and talk about workforce issues.

Butters information was well received and followed by many favorable comments, as per this letter from Monte Guitar, PMPA’s director of technical programs.

For more information on this presentation, please contact Barry Butters via phone or email.

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin Presents Gateway Technical College with a Check for $50,000

Michael Reader

On April 16, 2015, Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, presented a check in the amount of $50,000 to the Gateway Technical College Board. This contribution follows the announcement of a new manufacturing center that will be built and developed at the school’s Elkhorn Campus.

Mike Reader writes:

On behalf of our 65 dedicated manufacturing professionals here at Precision Plus, I was delighted to present a gift to the board members of Gateway Technical College.  Our check for $50,000 will go towards securing additional equipment/materials to enhance the students’ experience and better prepare them for their careers ahead.  In addition to the monetary support, this gesture serves merely as a starting point for a long-term partnership, as we also look forward to assisting with technical support, materials, mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Gateway Technical College has several campuses throughout the counties which it serves–Kenosha, Racine and Walworth—offering general curriculum studies, as well as targeted programs to address specific local industry needs.

For many decades, Southeast Wisconsin has been known for housing a cluster of Swiss precision manufacturers. Unfortunately, a training facility to address these specific needs was not available until now. I am pleased to announce that through the joint efforts of the Gateway leadership team and the engaged business community, Gateway Technical College will house a state-of-the-art training facility in its Elkhorn Campus.

It will unfold as a two-step solution starting in the fall of 2015 with new curriculum, equipment and instruction, followed by new brick/mortar and more equipment within a year.

 This new advanced manufacturing training lab will house state-of-the-art turning and milling equipment from strategic partner Haas Automation, coupled with a Tsugami S205 Swiss-type (sliding headstock) machine, compliments of the Morris Group and Morris Midwest.  It will be fitted with a Tracer 6’ magazine bar-feeding system from CNC Indexing & Feeding, along with a 1,000 PSI high-pressure pump to replicate real scenarios which the students are bound to also experience once in a real career track.

Joining me during the presentation also were Wall Mulvaney, John Holt and Dave Kramer, representing Haas Automation and the Gene Haas Foundation.  In addition to the equipment support, they also presented the Board with a check for $10,000 to fund ten-$1,000 student scholarships for those choosing to pursue a career in technical education focused on machining at Gateway Technical College.

 

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