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Precision Plus Education Update for November of 2015

Michael Reader

For Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, no two days are alike. Under the umbrella of his title, there is a wealth of responsibilities that include, among others,

  • Day-to-day management of PPI’s apprenticeship, mentoring and summer internship programs
  • Community and education outreach that communicates and brings awareness to careers in manufacturing
  • Participation in industry and commerce events to exchange ideas and knowledge with colleagues
  • Assisting in career development at any stage of the process

In November 2015, Mark Beilman represented Precision Plus at two career development events.

On November 4th, Beilman was a panelist at the Beloit Memorial High School Career Panel. Other panelists were Clint Wallisch of Corporate Contractors, Inc., Stephanie Leuder and Brandon Flexsenfar of Fairbanks Morse Engine, Vance Wilmovsky and Cory Brown of Scot Forge, and Joe Schwengels of JP Cullen.

The hour-long event was attended by about 70 students, and was organized by Lindsay Healless, Career Advocate for the school. Each panelist had the opportunity to introduce himself or herself, and give a short presentation about employability skills typically required by their companies.

The panelists spoke about the importance to “doing something you love.” Beilman added, “Never settle for second best.” Several panelists also discussed the benefits of “following one’s own passion” when determining what career to pursue, and let that be the guide to a choice of school and/or position that can nurture their passion. Following, students asked questions of the panelists, mostly about suggested educational paths.

Among the students, there was a variety of career aspirations, from becoming skilled tradesmen to becoming engineers. The panelists discussed options such as attending a 4-year school, getting a 2-year associates degree, or going into the skilled trades as an apprentice.

The panelists also reiterated the importance of developing employability skills—from showing up to work on time every day, to passing a drug test, writing a coherent resume, looking at the potential employer in the eye when speaking with them, doing their best in all their classes, and declaring their desire to succeed within the organization as a positive team member.

Career panels such as the one presented by Beloit Memorial High School open career possibilities for students, who can listen to and interact with employers and learn about the education and skills required to work at their type of businesses.

On November 12th and 13th, Mark Beilman participated in one-on-one employment mock interviews with two Occupations Program students at Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS).

Tristyn Nichols and Alexis Parise, both seniors at EAHS, practiced their skills for the mock interviews conducted by Beilman. Each took approximately 30 minutes, and was followed by a 15-minute immediate feedback session, not only assessing the interview, but also suggesting ways to improve their employability skills.


Both students were well prepared with resumes and cover letters. Tristyn was “interviewing” for a sales position at Polaris Snowmobiles, while Alexis was “interviewing” at a horse stable to work as a vet technician, horse groomer and animal care provider. Both asked pertinent questions and responded to questions posed by Beilman such as,

  • Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • Explain a time when someone told you about correcting your behavior – what was the situation and how did you react?

For students looking for a summer job or a full-time job after school, Mark Beilman has the following recommendation: “Prepare and be yourself: you are selling yourself to the company as well as your skills. Be energetic and enthusiastic.”

For more information about these programs or other education and training initiatives and events, please contact Mark Beilman via email, or by phone at 262.743.1700.

 

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson Meets with Precision Plus Interns

Michael Reader

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson visited Precision Plus of Elkhorn to learn about the company’s Youth Apprenticeship and Summer Internship Programs and tour the facility.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Secretary Newson to office in October of 2011. He leads the state agency and is charged with “building and strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce.”

Earlier in the year, while touring Elkhorn Area High School, Secretary Newson had heard about Precision Plus’ programs from Kyle Gorst—a youth apprentice. That conversation peaked his interest to the point of scheduling a visit to Precision Plus He sought to find out, firsthand, about the programs and the apprentice/intern experience.

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Fifteen out of the current sixteen Precision Plus summer interns greeted the secretary and led him on a guided tour of the facility. Later in the tour, he held a town hall meeting with fourteen of the interns to hear their stories of how they came to be with the company, and talk about their career intentions after graduation from college.

Secretary Newson also explained the role of his agency, key in connecting employers and skilled workers, and the efforts DWD undertakes to assist job seekers with disabilities, while overseeing Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights and Worker’s Compensation programs.

Precision Plus welcomes local, state and federal legislators to visit its facility and to learn about the initiatives in place at the company to increase awareness of 21st century manufacturing.

For more information, please contact Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training via phone or email.

To Celebrate Manufacturing Month, Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin Welcomed Five Area High Schools for Plant Tours

Michael Reader

One hundred and forty-one students and eleven chaperones from five area high schools visited Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin during the month of October 2014, to celebrate Manufacturing Month and learn about the industry and the company. MFG DAY 2014 held earlier in October, had kicked off the month-long event. The schools in attendance were Delavan Darien High School and East Troy High School on October 16th, Elkhorn Area High School and Lake Geneva Badger High School on October 23rd, and Tenor High School on October 27th.

The tour began at Precision Plus’ classroom with personnel introduction, a PowerPoint presentation about the history of the company and the role of a contract manufacturer, followed by a demonstration of the software used at Precision Plus, and a video showcasing the trajectory of a part from concept to completion. After a question and answer session, the students took a plant tour. Upon returning to the classroom, students had another opportunity for Q&As and received a PMPA pen/flash drive with information about CNC training and career statistics.

Precision Plus received several notes from the schools, reiterating the importance of such opportunities for students who are evaluating their future career possibilities.

Precision Plus Participates at the Milwaukee School of Engineering 2014 Career Fair

Michael Reader

Each year, Milwaukee School of Engineering holds a career fair open to all majors. The 2014 MSEO Career Fair took place on Friday, October 10th. Precision Plus was one of over 200 companies exhibiting at the event for the purpose of recruiting and meeting students one-on-one.

Both Mike Reader, President , and Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, worked the booth, along with Mike Reader, Jr. who is presently attending the institution.   Mike Jr. is one of five former Precision Plus’ interns/apprentices who are currently enrolled at MSOE.

The conversation with students was non-stop, making the event highly successful with nearly 40 applications received specifically from those majoring in industrial engineering, mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology.

Precision Plus is planning to more than double its current capacity by next year, and is currently hiring for various positions.

Precision Plus Participates in Delavan-Darien High School’s Technical Education Open House

Michael Reader

On May 29, 2014, Delavan Darien High School conducted a Technical Education Open House to showcase the projects developed and worked on by students throughout the year.

Butters engaging several of the Delavan Darien H.S. students about machining processes.

As part of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Committee, Precision Plus’s Barry Butters, as well as other committee members representing SPX, Mode Industries and Micro Precision, were on hand to provide support and talk to the students about the opportunities in manufacturing.

Students, parents, school administration, and board members attended the event. The CTE Committee is helping to build a strong cooperative effort, to provide meaningful opportunities for all of the students in the Delavan-Darien School District.

The Delavan-Darien School District is also proactively working “to revive challenging and rewarding learning options” for high school students who want to explore career paths. On April 16, 2014, it announced the return of the “Youth Apprenticeship Program.” Through this program, students will be able to get involved in industry apprenticeships (before, during, after school, or summer), as well as take targeted academic courses which are in line with their apprenticeship , and which will be available at the high school or at technical institutions or colleges.

The program, which is expected to begin with the 2014-2015 Fall Semester, will include a variety of career paths, such as agricultural science, food science, natural resources, architecture and construction, arts, audio/video technology, communications, finance, health science, hospitality/tourism, information technology, manufacturing, engineering, transportation and logistics.

Precision Plus commends the Delavan-Darien School District on its initiatives.

In The News: Precision Plus Open House Featured on Lake Geneva Regional News

Michael Reader

On April 29, 2014, Precision Plus, inc. of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, welcomed guests to an open house to showcase its new training classroom featuring CAD and CAM software from PartMaker and Autodesk.  The event was featured in an article by Chris Schultz on the Lake Geneva Regional News of May 8, 2014. The article describes Precision Plus’ journey from idea to reality, and future plans.

For a PDF copy of this article, please click here!

Precision Plus of Elkhorn Wisconsin Sponsors the Elkhorn Technology and Engineering Club (E-TECH)

Michael Reader

A group of students from Elkhorn High School has established a club called the Elkhorn Technology and Engineering Club (E-TECH).  The group’s officers include President Hunter Parks, Vice President Allan Russell, Director of Technology Alex Roberts, Secretary Maria Vigueras, and Treasurer Jessica Flock.

Officers of Elkhorn Area High School’s E-TECH Club visit Precision Plus

The mission of the club is to introduce Elkhorn Area School District youth–from kindergarten through high school–to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Their initial goal was to start a program within their school district where kids could learn about topics such as electronics, motion, and the engineering process through hands-on experiences, such as building robots and electronic devices and participating in competitions.

Their second emphasis was to empower the younger generation to invent and innovate in order to make a path towards a brighter future. Participation in the E-TECH Club fosters an interest in the math and science disciplines and promotes successful strategies for teamwork, problem solving, and sportsmanship

The group competes in the First Lego League, First Tech Challenge, Gateway College’s Sumo Bot Competition, West Point Bridge Building Competition, and the Future City Project.  The club is seeking sponsorship to expand the number of students able to participate in competitions and to expand their involvement to include elementary school students.

Members of the E-TECH Club meet with Mike Reader of Precision Plus and Gary Huss of Hudapack to discuss sponsorship.

At a meeting held at Precision Plus on July 19, 2013, the group met with Mike Reader of Precision Plus Inc. and Gary Huss from Hudapack to inform them of their mission and goals as well as to request sponsorship.  Precision Plus and Hudapack both committed $500 as “Gold Sponsors” of the club.  The students then took a tour of the Precision Plus facility.

Mike Reader resonated with the goals and aspirations of the students in the E-TECH Club.  He added, “The students display great problem-solving skills combined with strong math and science backgrounds. These are the type of young individuals manufacturing needs.  Exposing these great minds to the possibilities of manufacturing will certainly contribute to closing the gap.”

Elkhorn Area High School’s E-TECH Club tours
Precision Plus led by Mike Reader.

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus, has also committed to help supervise some of the club’s activities.  Butters is a former teacher at Elkhorn High School, having taught advanced placement math courses including statistics and calculus, as well as Introduction to Engineering Design, a “Project Lead the Way” course.

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.