Giving up their Saturday Mornings for What..?

Here's a shop that knows how to lure teens out of their beds to come and learn about manufacturing on a Saturday morning! Who would have known?


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Today, I want to tell you about another shop we’re featuring in our April issue: PTI Engineered Plastics in Macomb, Michigan. PTI is very dedicated to grooming the next generation of its moldmaking and manufacturing workforce, and they’ve somehow figured out how to lure teenagers out of their beds on Saturday mornings to learn about manufacturing. Pretty impressive.

Following is what they submitted to us about how they are going about it:

Finding qualified employees and getting young talent to join the industry are two of the biggest challenges facing the manufacturing sector.

To address these challenges, PTI has decided to take matters into its own hands. The PTI Technical Academy is a 9-week program that introduces high-school students from Macomb County to the manufacturing world. Students come in for three hours every Saturday, and sessions are taught by PTI employees in a specially-constructed classroom at the PTI facility. During the 9-week program, students go through the critical stages of the manufacturing process — starting from concept, part design, and design-for-manufacturing principles, all the way to mold design, mold flow, and actually building the mold using CNC, EDM, benching, and all the steps in between.

With the first three classes completed, word of the PTI Academy has spread, and the next two classes are already fully booked. By now, PTI has hired several graduates from the first classes, and additional students are getting interest from other area companies.

What a great program. Does your shop have a similar one? What are you doing to fill the skills gap in your community? The more we share our successful ideas, the less we'll have to worry about where that next generation workforce is going to come from.