Motto of the Month
“A Salute to Workforce Development and the People Who Make it Happen”
As I write this month about “workforce development”, I’m reminded of NTMA’s 2000 Chairman Roger Sustar, president of Fredon Corporation in Mentor, OH. Long before he went through the NTMA chairs, he created a program in his shop called “Cannons of Fredon”. Recognizing that the industry needed to do more to assure a reliable workforce for the future, he created a very innovative apprenticeship and training program for local high-school and vocational-school students making parts for and then assembling awesome (non-firing) cannons as a training tool. Full disclosure – I’m a lucky owner of a Cannon of Fredon. It occupies the middle of a conference table in our office for everyone to enjoy.
Jeff Kelly, president of Hamill Manufacturing in Trafford, PA, and NTMA’s 2007 chairman has invested years of work in the same pursuit. Locally in Pittsburgh, he chaired the Westmoreland County School-to-Work partnership and chaired the Westmoreland -Fayette Workforce Investment Board. With NTMA, he championed the development of Precision JOBS for American Manufacturing (PJAM), an NTMA initiative to fill and retain a manufacturing skilled workforce pipeline.
The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) was created 15 years ago by several metalworking trade associations (including NTMA) to develop and maintain globally competitive American workforce. NIMS sets skills standards for the industry, certifies individual skills against the standards and accredits training programs that meet NIMS quality requirements.
Skills USA (formerly known as VICA) just held its annual national competition last week in Kansas City, MO. If you’ve not been to the finals, it’s an amazing sight to see – students from across the country competing in every vocational and technical contest imaginable. The winners just happened to be NIMS-trained. (OK, it’s not an accident that NIMS training was involved).
Here in the southland, the Los Angeles Chapter of the NTMA has long been the proud owner/sponsor of the LA/NTMA Training Centers of Southern California. Since 1968 and with 2 locations today under the direction of President Michael Kerwin – in Norwalk and Ontario – the Training Centers work very hard to fill that skilled workforce pipeline. At any given time, there are between 500 and 600 students on campus enrolled in Machinist/Advanced Machinist Training, CNC/Advanced CNC Machining Training, Mastercam Training, and Inspection Training. Even during the recent downturn, the LA/NTMA Training Centers were able to place graduates in jobs as a result of its reputation for creating such a good “product.”
Why is all this important? Even with the recent loss of manufacturing jobs across the country, the industry remains an important – no, crucial – part of our economy and our way of life. And a full pipeline of skilled machinists and other manufacturing professionals is absolutely vital and necessary. While I’ve mentioned a few of the most prominent players in filling the pipeline, there are many, many more. And they’re supported and staffed by some of the most committed people in the industry, paid and volunteer, nationwide.
So here’s a big “thank you” to everyone across the country that is involved at every level in the care and feeding of workforce development and training for the metalworking industry.
This Month’s Featured Process – Double-Disc Grinding
Double-Disc Grinding is a highly efficient grinding method that reduces premachining costs up to 50% and provides dimensional tolerances, parallelism, and flatness to ±.0002″. Double-Disc Grinding uses two opposing abrasive wheels to simultaneously grind two sides of a blank. In one operation, equal amounts of material are removed from both sides.