Advanced Precision Machining

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New trends in vocational education and their impact on CNC machining

[June 10th, 2013] With warmer temperatures finally upon us, coupled with recent graduates entering the workforce, we'd like to provide some short food for thought this month. In our recent blog post entitled "Adapting to change; CNC milling and machining operations face some difficulty finding qualified CNC machinists" we blogged about adapting to change, and how today's workforce is challenged by a lack of qualified CNC machining operators. We addressed various socio-economic indicators, and shared with you news of APM co-founder Kirk Tuesburg's future foray into the local teaching ranks. Here in Colorado, Front Range Community College (FRCC) recently began short term, non-credit CNC machine shop training classes aimed at delivering more qualified talent to the workforce. Kirk is excited to contribute, and has accepted a future position as an instructor.

As the demand for manufacturing services continues its growth, vocational education in the U.S. is seeing a resurgence. In the precision machining sector in particular, the CNC machine shop has experienced an increase in business. The result; many open, well paying jobs are now available to those possessing the right skills, and students are taking note. At FRCC, tuition and fees apply, creating a potential financial burden for those interested in CNC milling and machining. Surprising to us, vocational training at the high school level is back in vogue. Today, many young people are forgoing college altogether. Vocational classes, once somewhat stigmatized, are now seen as a smart answer to the question of a sound financial future.

Many school districts, including our local St. Vrain Valley Schools, offer vocational training in the fields of precision manufacturing. In fact, the aforementioned program at Front Range Community College partners with our local school district to seamlessly transition students into higher education should they choose. However, many students opt to enter the workforce immediately after vocational training in grades 9-12. No matter the path they select, students today will soon reap the benefits, as will employers including Advanced Precision Machining.

We'd like to leave you today with a very informative and inspiring video from the TODAY SHOW. The story details the needs of precision manufacturing, and shows how students are stepping up.

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About the Author

Gerry Dillon is a co-founder, current owner and certified CNC machinist at Advanced Precision Machining (APM), a full-service machine shop located in Longmont, Colorado. Before making his home in the United States in 2000, Gerry was born and raised on the emerald isle of Ireland and took an interest in milling and machining from an early age, ranking #1 in the Irish National Apprenticeship Program. In 2005, he partnered with his friend and colleague, Kirk Tuesburg, currently APM’s machine shop manager, together launching what’s grown into a leading Colorado machine shop. Gerry brings over 30 years of machining experience to the shop floor, and is certified in all aspects of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing.


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