You Don’t Have to be a Big Company to Make a Big Impact on Your Community

New AMBA educational outreach program promotes the sharing of ideas and strengthens communities.


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Compumold Tool and Design Inc. of Phillips, Wisconsin, wins inaugural AMBA National award for effectively engaging the youth in its community on the career opportunities in moldmaking.


You don’t have to be a big company to make a big impact on your community. Compumold Tool and Design Inc. of Phillips, Wisconsin, found that out when they won first place in the American Mold Builders Association’s (AMBA) new Educational Outreach Contest. Per a press release MMT received, the AMBA established this new program to celebrate manufacturers who work to engage young people in the manufacturing industry, and winners were announced on Manufacturing Day, October 7.

When I asked Compumold’s Brian Meives if his company was surprised to win in a field of notable AMBA member companies that entered the contest, he said, “Yes, we were surprised to win this award, and we were honored to be selected as one of the finalists. We are a small 13-man shop and it is incredible that we could come out as the winner. However, the true winners are the students that will be benefiting from the $2000 gift.”

That “gift” is a scholarship that the AMBA earmarked for the winning company, which then designates a school, student or program to receive the money. For Compumold, the scholarship was presented to Phillips High School. “This money will be used to enhance the Tech Ed Program there. Our community has a lot of manufacturing opportunities, and anytime you can help the young people in our area to understand the different jobs available to them, it only helps build a better community,” says Meives. “We have been involved in the Youth Apprenticeship program for two years. We had the same student for both years. The first year he was mentored in the manufacturing aspect of the mold building process and the second year was based on the engineering aspects. We also participate in the Student Assistantship with Phillips High School. We have had three students spend a class period a day at our shop to job shadow employees in different areas. This, along with giving shop tours to the Tech Ed Classes, has given our local students the basic knowledge and career opportunities that are available after high school.”

The AMBA also named Romold of Rochester, New York, as its second-place winner and Ameritech Die and Mold in Morresville, North Carolina, took third place.

Romold, which has 16 employees including two apprentices, was recognized by the AMBA for its president, Lou Romano’s participation on the advisory board for local Monroe Community College’s Applied Technology Center, as well as his travel to Washington DC to discuss this partnership and the benefits of companies working within the education system to build awareness about careers in manufacturing. Romold also hosts tours of its shop for local students, participates in job fairs and sponsors its local high school’s robotics team.

Ameritech Die and Mold’s Apprenticship 2000 program has successfully worked through partnerships with high schools, colleges and other manufacturing companies to recruit students into its Euro-style, four-year apprenticeship program. “Through the multiple partner companies that have been a part of Apprenticeship 2000, we have graduated over 200 students, as well as sprouted multiple like programs across the country,” says Steve Rotman, Ameritech president. “We have had Secretary of Labor Perez visit and tour Ameritech and see the Apprenticeship 2000 program hard at work. It has been an amazing experience and we are so proud to be a part of it. We have to keep on leading the charge, believing that we are offering a very strong opportunity and vibrant job opportunity to young people who either can’t afford college, or don’t want to sit in a classroom for another four years, and then still have to try to figure out where to get a job. Apprenticeship is the OTHER four-year degree!”

I think the AMBA has stumbled upon a great way to bring more attention to moldmaking as a viable and rewarding, not to mention exciting, career. Compumold’s Meives summed it up well for me, saying, “We think the Educational Outreach Award Program is great. It gives AMBA members the opportunity to share ideas that help strengthen our communities. We enjoyed reading some of the other entries and will be using these ideas in the future to help educate our youth about the mold building industry.”

You can learn more about this competition and access a PDF of this year’s entries here. There are 11 AMBA companies who participated in the competition and each has some great ways in which it approaches students, their parents and educators in its community. Your company can take a cue from these active programs and perhaps enter next year’s competition!