3D Printing Offers a Link to Manufacturing Careers

Kylee Carbone, director of talent development at Westminster Tool, reflects on 3D printing’s role in workforce development.
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As one of the team members responsible for finding new talent at Westminster Tool, I’m excited to see how students are learning more about 3D printing technology’s role in manufacturing.

I have attended many career events where students say they want to pursue a job in which they can work with technology, but they don’t correlate that manufacturing thrives on the utilization of advanced technologies.  

Westminster Tool is considering using 3D printing to be able to quickly create prototype parts for our customers, then evaluate our ability to measure the complex geometries of those parts. With that intent in mind, our talent development team has been tasked with finding an intern who will evaluate the different types of 3D printers, determine which technology best aligns with our needs and create a presentation supporting why they chose that technology. Interns have great resources they can utilize through their universities, which helps us to access the information we need in a timely manner without having to dedicate an employee to the task. We assign a support person to each intern to provide guidance and act as a sounding board. 

The final decision on purchasing a 3D printer will be made by leadership, but the intern’s research is a critical factor. We often employ college interns for these types of projects because their education promotes a research mindset. It is also a low-risk opportunity for us to evaluate how an intern would do as a permanent part of our team. If the outcome shows that we should invest in the technology, then we will follow our standard training process. Someone (more than likely it would be the intern) will be tasked with using the technology, and when they have become proficient in its use, they will create a training program within Westminster Academy. Our philosophy is to hire for character and train for skill, so it’s important that we have the training developed to support the next employee who will be working with the technology.