As the Chairman of the Precision Manufacturing Institute (PMI) and President of the Rosedale Institute, Dennis Wilke spends much of his time talking to students and parents about the benefits of a trade-based, post-high school education. Trade schools are helping to drive our country’s economy and are especially important as Marcellus Shale Energy jobs begin to grow.
Leaders in Trade School Education
Both PMI and Rosedale are dedicated to preparing students for employment in HVAC, diesel, automotive, electrical and manufacturing fields. Besides talking to prospective students, Mr. Wilke also looks for talented instructors to teach students at both schools to ensure that they will have the necessary skills needed to thrive in their work environment.
But that’s not all that he does. He also is in touch, on a daily basis, with employers and industry leaders that are looking for trained, knowledgeable graduates that they can hire and who can make an impact on their first day. He looks for feedback from these companies, too, to make sure that all Rosedale and PMI students have been taught the skills they need to enter the trades workforce.
“Delegation is Key”
With so many job-related duties to perform, Mr. Wilke has learned that’s important to assign employees tasks to help with so many trade school obligations. He says, “The biggest thing I’ve had to overcome is learning how to delegate. I’ve always been one to try to do everything by myself and am naturally slow to trust others. Lack of delegation caused me to be far too tactical and not nearly strategic enough. Learning how to let go and empower my employees to act has given me the freedom to be a leader and not just a manager.”
With state-of-the-art facilities and experienced instructors, both Rosedale and PMI are among the best trade schools in western Pennsylvania. Learn more today by contacting them.
A Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC operator) is an employee who runs a CNC machine, which is a device that can be programmed to complete large production jobs with very little waste. Thus, they are common in manufacturing and the aerospace industries, as these fields require machines can complete large-scale part orders relatively quickly. However, they do require a specialized CNC operator who is capable of programming and operating one of these complex devices.
Education and Job Description
Luckily for those who are considering a position like this, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there is a growing need for skilled operators who are able to competently run CNC machines. A trained technician should expect their job prospects in this field to remain relatively steady in the future, making it a worthy investment. Trained CNC operators in the United States have a median salary of approximately $40,000. Typically, operating CNC machines requires vocational schooling and an on-the-job apprenticeship. The technician will need to be able to both interpret the blueprints of work orders and be able to efficiently program a CNC machine to complete a certain task.
An operator may be in charge of a number of machines as part of their day-to-day position. The job will likely consist of reading the blueprints for orders, programming the machine to complete a certain task, performing a test run to ensure that the job will come out properly, and verifying that the completed task matches the original order. Operators will be expected to become experts at their machines, as they will be the first line of troubleshooting should any issues arise. The job requires both a proficiency with the technology of a CNC machine and some experience with manufacturing, as an operator may also need to perform basic mechanical repairs to machines over time. The tooling of a particular machine may need to be swapped in between jobs by the operator. As these machines will be used in a manufacturing environment, operators must be particularly mindful of the day-to-day safety precautions that are recommended for these machines.
While high school/vocational school are important requirements for a prospective CNC operator, there is little replacement for on-the-job experience. This kind of position is particularly well suited for those who have, for instance, worked previously as a machinist, or in a different manufacturing environment. Likewise, there is some training necessary to become proficient with the programming that goes into using a CNC machine. However, given the positive job prospects for these positions, it is likely a worthy investment.
The manufacturing industry is booming. Production is returning to U.S. shores, factories are being built or are producing more goods than before, and skilled workers are needed—now. But today’s manufacturing jobs are different than they were in the past. The use of precise, computer-controlled machines and computer-aided design software has required workers to expand their knowledge and learn new skill sets. We’ve asked manufacturing companies what skills and knowledge they want their employees to have. Here’s what they’ve said:
- Hands-on experience, combined with sound theory, makes the best learning experience for students. Employers are looking for people who are ready to jump right in and work. To be ready to enter the workforce as an already-experienced worker, you’ll need to have state-of-the-art machine tools and software to learn from, practice on, and become an expert in. If you’re a machinist, you should know how to operate a CNC machine as well as interpret and edit its programming. To ensure that you know the fundamentals before programming a machine, you should also able to manually perform drilling and milling functions. Potential employees who have hundreds or thousands of clock hours under their belts are more likely to be hired.
- Absolute safety compliance. Many companies invest millions in their factories and work areas to make sure that their equipment is up-to-date and that their employees understand and know how to avoid safety hazards in the workplace. Before you begin any job, you should know all of the measures that are required so that your workplace and fellow employees are safe. Starting a job with knowledge of all security and safety precautions is important and will lead to a smooth integration in your new job.
- Upgraded technical skills. Computer skills are a must. Most machines are programmed using computer technology and many manufacturing products are first engineered using computer-aided drafting and design. Mechatronics technology, which requires students to maintain mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and robotic systems in most factories in the United States, is particularly dependent on skilled workers who can troubleshoot and then repair computer-related problems.
- The ability to supervise and then lead. First-line supervisors and managers coordinate production lines and all of the workers in a particular area to ensure that goods and materials are produced quickly and efficiently. Often, workers who have excelled at their job are promoted to supervisors, but they don’t realize how to motivate employees and meet shipping and delivery deadlines. Leadership development courses can help these dedicated employees learn how to unlock their employees’ potential while still delivering products on-time.
If you’d like to learn about how to train for a manufacturing job, call Precision Manufacturing Institute in Meadville. We have state-of-the art equipment, applied theory courses, and experienced instructors. We offer four programs that can allow you to become an expert in a manufacturing area in as little as five to eight months.
Every machinist works carefully with different types of materials and products. With so many fields now using CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines, it is common for machine workers to do less work with hardware tools that involve cutting, stamping, and drilling, and instead work more with specialized machines. While machines offer precise cuts and are programmed to work with many different kinds of materials, the machinist has the more important job.
These are skills that every machinist should possess to make sure that their job is done correctly and safely:
- Be completely comfortable reading and understanding blueprints and illustrations that will guide your work. Although the technology included in the CNC machines has greatly improved the process of manipulating and cutting materials, have reduced mistakes, and allowed large-scale production, they are only machines that are programmed. Machinists must know how to read engineering designs, decide how the CNC will be milling components, set the parameters on the machine, and then review the results to make sure they are correct.
- Oversee use and care of the machines. A good machinist must understand how to keep the machine in good working order and know all the materials and processes that a CNC is programmed for. A machinist isn’t only the CNC operator—he guards the CNC’s mechanisms to ensure that that are no problems that could cause damage to the machine or slow down the operation and production schedule.
- Know how to use all the tools and materials that are required to manufacture parts and components. That means you must be highly proficient in skills like laser cutting, metalforming, drilling, and screw machining. You must be able to use measuring tools like caliphers or micrometers to determine how much material will be introduced into the CNC machine.
- Work carefully and consider craftsmanship to be the most critical part of his job. A CNC is just a machine. A machinist is responsible for the final output. Machinists must know how to prioritize their workload and properly schedule the CNC machine’s operation in order to stay on task. It’s important to know how to troubleshoot (finding, investigating, and fixing errors in manufactured products) and discover new ways to increase productivity either through CNC processes or by the overall work that a machinist is expected to do.
There’s one final note, too, which every machinist knows: safety is first. Wear protective safety goggles and always follow safety procedures to prevent injury or harm to yourself or others who work with you.
Welding safety is critical to a protected workplace and employees. When welding students first begin learning about this profession, safety is the first item they are taught, and it’s interwoven into everything that they do. It doesn’t matter if welding is being performed as a large-scale operation or in a small area—safety rules must be strictly enforced to decrease the hazard of severe burns on the skin or eyes.
If you would like to remind employees or co-workers about proper welding methods, here are some basics that should be the foundation of everyday safety:
- Choose the right protective clothing and wear it properly. Use fire-resistant clothing, heavy flame-resistant welding gloves, leather aprons, auto-darkening helmet to protect the face and eyes, welding jacket, and safety glasses. Never wear synthetic clothing, do not cuff your pants or sleeves, and do not tuck pants in your boots.
- Wear protective shoes. Your choice of shoes is just as important as what you are wearing on your body. You must wear leather boots or shoes—no tennis shoes or shoes made from any other kind of cloth. Place your pants legs over your shoes to prevent burns to the inside of your boots or shoes.
- Go back to your welding machine instruction manual. Any safety questions that you have will likely be answered in the manufacturer’s instruction booklet. Each piece of equipment will be labeled and explained, and the recommendations should be considered the final authority for your safety. Of course, if you have any questions about something contained in the manual, you should call the manufacturer.
- Practice proper ventilation procedures. Ventilation is very important. The fumes that are produced by welding contain compounds that can cause or are suspected to cause asthma, tremors and lung cancer. Keep clear of the fume plume and use your exhaust hood to be sure that you have enough breathable air.
- Shield your eyes. All welders must avoid arc flash, which can cause a serious injury. Being exposed to the infrared and ultraviolet radiation given off by a welding arc can severely damage your eyes. Properly shielding your eyes means wearing safety glasses with a welding helmet with the right filter lens. You should also use an auto-darkening helmet. These safety helmets can instantly darken to the necessary protective level and help to lessen the fatigue to the neck and head that was caused by snapping one’s head back to release the hood.
While all of these components are critical to a welder’s safety, they must be connected into an overall safety program if they are to meet an employer’s safety goals. Proper training and supervision is important, as is making sure that every employee’s work routine and behavior contributes to the goal of no accidents and 100 percent safety compliance.