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Training & Education

Productive beginnings

By Lauren Duensing

Foundation provides students with funding to help ensure they are well trained and ready for work

December 2017 - Manufacturing jobs are widely available, and these good-paying positions offer both new and seasoned workers steady employment that can turn into—or cap off—a rewarding career. However, not every job seeker has the necessary skills to walk directly onto the shop floor and be productive.

Those just starting out in the manufacturing industry will find a variety of centers and community colleges offering excellent training programs. The costs associated with this education can be a hardship, however, which may discourage students from pursuing an industrial career.

“Education and technical training has become too expensive for some individuals who are innately drawn to hands-on types of careers,” says Patricia Rosengren, executive director of the LANTMA Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit in Pasadena, California. “Thousands of openings go unfilled at this very moment because the applicants are not ready to start being productive on day one.”

The lack of skilled workers can have a ripple effect, with manufacturing companies not able to fill all orders in the most timely fashion because they don’t have the workers available to produce items. That futile search for qualified employees can also lead them offshore, which “clearly impacts the U.S. economy,” Rosengren says.

In Southern California, three experienced business owners who had long been involved with their industry association—the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (LA/NTMA)—“agreed that the need for skilled workers in the manufacturing sector has reached a critical level and wanted to be proactive about solving the problem,” Rosengren explains.

The LANTMA Foundation was established to assist students enrolled in technical tracks at community colleges and trade schools who face financial difficulties while learning the trade. It is a charitable nonprofit organization set up to hand out grants for education. Mark Osterstock, president of Q-Mark Manufacturing Inc., “took the reins and filed all the paperwork” to get the foundation up and running, Rosengren says. Bob Mosey, founder of Moseys Production Machinists, and Mike Karsonis, founder of Dynamic Fabrication, join Osterstock as inaugural board members guiding the initiative.

“Our goals include providing financial assistance for those learning the skills needed for a successful career in manufacturing,” says Osterstock.

“Any person enrolled in a technical track with general interest in manufacturing is qualified to apply for a grant,” using the form on the organization’s website, Rosengren adds. “Men, women, any age, first or second careers, veterans, disabled individuals—really anyone who wants a really solid career with the potential for a secure future.”

Although the LANTMA Foundation is just being launched, many companies in Southern California have already expressed interest in donating to the foundation and in helping to address the trained worker shortage in the region.

“It is anticipated that this interest will grow as we reach out to the many public and private foundations and trusts that include this area of workforce development in their mission statements,” Rosengren says. “We look forward to identifying our first few recipients soon and will watch their progress, share their stories, and rejoice in their placement in our industry.”

The foundation intends to keep in touch with every student who receives a grant and help guide them to the many open positions in Southern California, she adds.

“I sincerely hope that other shop owners, and all those who benefit from local manufacturing, will contribute to the LANTMA Foundation,” Osterstock comments. “Their contributions help create tuition grants for students enrolled in manufacturing classes. These students are the future of American manufacturing.” FFJ

Sources

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