Hurrah for the Trailblazers
MSI Mold Builders was named Tooling Trailblazer of the Year by the American Mold Builders Association for its exceptional efforts to promote moldmaking as a career. The award was presented during the AMBA’s annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
MSI Mold Builders (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was named Tooling Trailblazer of the Year by the American Mold Builders Association for its exceptional efforts to promote moldmaking as a career. The award was presented during the AMBA’s annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Roger Klouda, president, was on hand to receive the award along with newly elected AMBA national president Toby Bral, who is MSI’s quality manager, and two other members of the MSI team.
MSI, which is an MMT Leadtime Leader company, is very involved with local high schools, Kirkwood Community College and four-year colleges in the Cedar Rapids area, recruiting interns and promoting careers in advanced manufacturing. “We are extremely active in recruiting and training interns,” MSI’s Dale Larsen says. Larsen submitted the award entry form for the company. “At one time this year in our Iowa plant, we had eight different interns; four in the CNC department, one in assembly, one each in IT, maintenance and design. In our South Carolina facility we had two interns. Also, we have brought in six high school seniors to job shadow anywhere from 45-90 hours each. We are active on a weekly basis in the area high-schools, doing everything from setting up presentation tables to holding discussions within the STEM area classes. This is exposing numerous students to the areas of Advanced Manufacturing.”
Indeed it is, but that’s not all. MSI also offers paid tuition, books and fees for interns and even full benefits for those working more than 30 hours a week in the plant. The company provides the interns with invaluable, hands-on training and promotes mold manufacturing by hosting multiple, annual shop tours for students, teachers and parents. “Our outreach in tours and education, in shows and fairs, in classroom presentations and job-shadows, has been a rousing success and continues to highlight not only the wonderful world of manufacturing, but specifically moldmaking at its best,” Larsen says.
MSI mold builders has chosen Kirkwood Community College’s (KCC) scholarships and outreach for its CNC and Advanced Manufacturing programs, according to Klouda. “It feels great to win this award, especially because it comes from the AMBA and our peers,” he says. “A lot of companies are working hard to promote moldmaking and advanced manufacturing careers at the educational institute level, and to be recognized among this group is extra special.”
“We were thrilled to learn that MSI Mold Builders was given the Trailblazer of the Year award,” Kathy L. Hall, CFRE, vice president of development at KCC, says. “Roger Klouda is a long-time Kirkwood Foundation board member, and MSI and the Klouda family have partnered with Kirkwood on workforce solutions for many years. The funds from the Trailblazer of the Year Award will be added to our existing MSI Mold Builders Fund, which supports a variety of efforts to increase the pipeline of skilled workers in CNC and advanced manufacturing in this region.
”The primary use of the MSI Mold Builders Fund is for scholarships for CNC students,” Hall continues. “Kirkwood’s advanced manufacturing instructors tell us that this support helps with both recruiting and retention, and the students tell us these scholarships are critical to their success.”
Watch for a future workforce development feature in MMT that will further highlight how MSI Mold Builders is working with local schools like KCC to build the next generation moldmaking workforce.
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