AME’s Partnership with Community College Promotes Local Manufacturing Careers

Spencer Kelsey - Advanced Machine & Engineering Manufacturing ApprenticeThere’s no question about the existing skills gap that manufacturers are facing today; however, the gap provides an opportunity for the U.S. to gain a competitive edge in manufacturing and become one of the leading nations for the industry.

Granted, receiving an advanced degree isn’t cheap, but there are other affordable ways for those interested in manufacturing to get hands-on experiences that are necessary to be successful in the trade.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor of IndustryWeek, reports how public-private partnerships in Rockford, Illinois are propelling the workforce in certain sectors of manufacturing.

Advanced Machine & Engineering has partnered with Rock Valley College to offer an apprenticeship to local high school students. The apprenticeship promotes manufacturing career opportunities to younger generations. During the apprenticeship, students learn various skills associated with the trade, including GD&T, CNC programming, materials sciences, feeds and speeds, and milling, drilling, and turning processes. They also attend a variety of classes including:

  • Mathematics for Machine Technology I
  • Blueprint Interpretation
  • Metal Cutting Applications
  • Metrology
  • CNC/CAM Operations
  • Introduction to Welding
  • Graphics/SolidWorks CAD I

Every student that graduates from the program is offered a full-time position at AME. This approach coincides with the 7-2-1 ratio of job creation that Selko mentions in her article. Devised by Kevin Fleming, the theory is that for occupation that requires a master’s degree or more, two professional jobs require a university degree, and there are over half a dozen jobs requiring a one-year certificate or two-year degree; so it’s important to guide students towards careers, not just universities, and hand-on experiences.

Current AME apprentice, Spencer Kelsey, is taking courses through Rock Valley College while he works in the engineering department throughout the week. Once he finishes the courses, he’ll receive an engineering degree from Northern Illinois University -- receiving both the higher education and technical training needed to secure a competitive advantage in the new economy.


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