Who’s Advocating for Moldmaking?

In addition to the three trade groups that I wrote about in this month’s issue of MMT, there are others readers should know about.
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More and more, we're learning about organizations and their members who are working to bridge the skills gap by volunteering time and resources to teach youngsters about moldmaking.

In addition to the three trade groups that I wrote about in this month’s issue of MMT (click here to read “Strengthening Manufacturing through Advocacy”), there are others readers should know about—moldmaking-related trade groups that are passionate about attracting new, talented youngsters to careers in manufacturing. One of these groups is the West Michigan Chapter of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA). I contacted Cindy Baas, who is Finance Director/Purchasing at CS Tool Engineering, Inc. in Cedar Springs, Michigan, for an update on workforce development efforts as she has also served for eight years on the board of AMBA West Michigan. She is currently the chapter’s treasurer. Cindy sent me some encouraging news and I’m going to share it in her words here because she expresses the excitement and dedication of the chapter’s members so well.

Chapter Advocacy:

“The West Michigan Chapter of the AMBA has worked with local schools to promote the trade. Recently we donated funds to help the Byron Center High School Applied Arts program repair a Haas CNC mill. We are also in the process of helping them financially with other repairs, supplies, and materials to keep their program up and running,” Cindy says.

“The West MI Chapter is also working on plans for a tradeshow booth and marketing materials that will be given out,” she continues. “Future plans include participating at career day events at local schools and/or tech centers.  Money raised from our annual vendor exhibit events will help fund the costs of the booth, marketing materials, and other expenses to promote the trade. Our board is very excited about these plans and will continue to explore ways to help our trade programs locally.”

Chapter Members Working It:

“A few of our individual members have also been very active promoting AMBA and the trade we love. Viking Tool & Engineering Inc. participated in the Third Annual Modern Manufacturing Day at Muskegon Area Career Tech Center,” Cindy explains. “This event was for sophomore through senior high school students and their parents. This was a great opportunity for not only the students but their parents to speak directly with owners and managers regarding the tool & die trade. Viking also had machining class students from the Muskegon Career Tech Center tour their facility. During this tour students were able to see first-hand the technical capabilities and skills needed for this trade. The students were very attentive and gained a new appreciation for the mold building trade.”

“Another member of our local chapter, Franchino Mold and Engineering Inc., has continued to work in several different ways to promote the mold making trade, including offering tours of their facility to surrounding schools or tech programs,” says Cindy. “They have also participated in Manufacturing Day events. The 2016 Capital Area Manufacturing Council MFG’s Day included two tours: One with the Heartlands Institute of Technology’s Machining Program students and one with Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) Career Connections program. Franchino Mold and Engineering’s Human Resources Manager, Brad Rusthoven, sits on numerous boards and is highly active in several committees, open houses, and other events that support the trade.” (Cindy provided a link to a YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rp0fHpyaEY.)  

Cindy points out that CS Tool is also actively doing its part: “CS Tool Engineering’s foreman, Dave Harper, and his apprentice son Cody Harper have supported the Kent Career Tech Center by doing student evaluations for the past two years. Both Dave and Cody visit the Tech Center twice a year along with employees from other mold shops to help evaluate the progress of students in the precision machining programs. The students, which are either first-year or second-year students, are trained on a variety of different topics, including basic machine shop skills (like running smaller equipment) all the way up to running CNC mills, lathes and laser cutters. The students are also trained on CAD software. The evaluations provided by Dave and Cody rate the students individually on how they have achieved certain skills. Cody was once a student in this same program.”

How is your organization helping to bridge the gap between your local schools and careers in moldmaking and related trades? Let us know!



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