Manufacturing Apprenticeships to Benefit New Jersey

manufacturing apprenticeshipsIn any successful business, after a demand is established from the consumer, you cannot increase revenue without increasing production. It’s a simple relation of the law of supply and demand. But it can be difficult to increase production without an influx of skilled employees, which can be the case in the manufacturing industry. An effective way to resolve this matter is through manufacturing apprenticeships.

Manufacturing apprenticeships give students and future employees a learning experience inside the trade; it acts as a paid training program. Max Daetwyler Corp. was recently featured in an article on TechTarget’s website for participating with 5 other North Carolina Manufacturers in a program called Apprenticeship 2000. This program is “a four-year program of community college classes in mechatronics and advanced manufacturing coupled with paid worksite apprenticeships”. What makes this program stand out above other manufacturing apprenticeships is that they have an extended eight-month interview process where students attend an open house and an orientation to be evaluated on their skill level. After review, the accepted students will participate in the six-week summer trial period and if qualified, will be offered the apprenticeship. It is a long process but it insures that the program is a good fit for the students and that the students are a good fit for the program.

Apprenticeship 2000, as well as other manufacturing apprenticeships, bring great opportunities for companies; especially for those looking to hire more skilled employees and expand their company. Once manufacturers in New Jersey have established a registered apprenticeship program, the sponsoring companies would be able to hire skilled employees that they personally train on their equipment and machines. And students will have more incentive to not only continue with the trade post-graduation, but inspire students to enroll in manufacturing programs. New Jersey manufacturing could highly benefit from programs like these.

Open Discussion With HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences

Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Sciences Meeting 1Every year the HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences in Paterson, New Jersey invites business owners and employers from different trade fields to come to their school and have an open discussion with their educators. The business owners and employers in attendance were from an array of trades. The different trades included carpentry, manufacturing, construction, plumbing, property management, retail, electricity, and more. In hosting these meetings, the school hopes to get feedback about their current curriculum. They also hope to get suggestions for changes or additions that could be made to expand their students’ skill sets and in turn help their students get jobs and establish a career.

Throughout the discussion, although most of the attendees were of different trades, there were a lot of commonalities within their suggestions. One recommendation was the importance of “soft skills”. This is a relatively new term described as the important general habits that make a good employee; for example punctuality and attendance. The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences’ educators implement these soft skills in their daily education. They teach them the importance of coming in on time, team building and more. The students also show their dedication to building good work habits by coming in early and staying late. The school is going beyond the curriculum by teaching the implied skills employers are looking for in their employees.Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Sciences Meeting 2

Another commonality discussed was that many students may not know the potential for growth in the trades’ career paths. The attendees and the school’s educators were in agreement that it helps to hear about this from a secondary source. Last year, The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences hosted a field trip to Convertech Inc. in Wharton, New Jersey. One of the Convertech Inc. machinists took the students on a tour around the shop and talked to them about his growth within Convertech Inc. and in the manufacturing industry. The school has also invited representatives from the different trade fields to speak with the students and they are hoping to continue this going forward. Outside of the classroom experiences are great for the students. They are also great for employers because they can directly speak with their potential employees about the jobs’ expectations.

Business owners cannot grow their company without skilled employees and The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences is teaching their students the necessary skills for their students to build a career. The school is always adapting their programs to the needs of the field. They are open to implementing new programs as they did last year with the new Advanced Manufacturing/ Entry-Level CNC Program. The educators care about their students. They host these meetings to do everything they can to give their students a foundation to be successful in the future.

For more information about the HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences, visit their website


Help wanted: Manufacturers struggle to find skilled employees

The following appeared in PlasticsToday:
by Clare Goldsberry (published: January 15, 2016



Manufacturing needs new blood in order to breathe new life back into this segment of the economy, but finding young people and creating the programs needed to train them will take a lot of work on the part of the manufacturing community. Larry Taitel, President of Convertech Inc., a manufacturer of air shafts and chucks in Wharton, NJ, and Dr. John W. Kennedy, CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturer’s Extension Partnership (NJMEP), are outspoken advocates of state-supported educational opportunities for students in machining.

New Jersey is home to 11,000 manufacturers, and yet, Taitel told PlasticsToday, finding the skilled machinists he needs to keep up with demand for his products is nearly impossible. Taitel currently employs 45 people, 35 of whom are production workers, in his 40,000-square-foot manufacturing area.

“Every year it gets worse, and now it’s intolerable,” Taitel lamented.

Taitel is in the same boat as nearly every manufacturing company. And it doesn’t appear that things will get any better over the next decade. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its biennial 10-year projection, the economy is returning to a more consistent growth path, but the growth is slower than the long-term trends that existed prior to the Great Recession. “The combination of a slowing of population growth, a continuation of longstanding trends of decreasing labor force participation and a lower unemployment rate will result in employment growth slightly stronger from 2014 to 2024 than it was from 2004 to 2014,” said the overview of the report.

Unfortunately the report projects that the service-providing sectors will account for the majority of projected job growth. That could mean that people like Taitel and moldmakers and plastics processors will see more young people flipping burgers and making lattes than applying for jobs as machinists, moldmakers, press operators and quality control technicians.

Taitel puts the blame on the manufacturing industry for not being proactive in working with high schools to keep shop classes active or partnering with vo-tech schools to ensure that the skills taught and the machinery used keep up with changing manufacturing technologies. As shop classes and vo-tech schools became obsolete, manufacturing dropped the ball and now it’s crying for skills that no longer exist.

“Thirty years ago, all high schools had machine shops and taught skills,” said Taitel, remembering back to the days when he took shop classes. “Then schools got on this kick that everyone needs to go to college. But that’s not where the jobs are today. The jobs are in making things; in manufacturing, the jobs have been there all along.”

Taitel doesn’t begrudge anyone getting a college degree. Eight of his employees have college degrees but they are in areas that are in demand at his plant, and they don’t have a degree just for the sake of having a degree. “We’ve lost an entire generation of machinists by taking shop out of the schools and eliminating vo-tech schools,” he said. “We need to get this back into the schools and tell the kids that manufacturing offers good, high-paying jobs.”

At Convertech, the work is low volume—one to five pieces for customized roll-fed machinery. That means that Taitel does a lot of work on manual machines, because automating at such low volumes isn’t efficient given the amount of programming and setup involved for each job. He operates 30 manual lathes and six automatic lathes, noting that using the manual lathe is still the best way to make one or two pieces. “People need to be able to do this,” he said. “Even to go to an automation operator position, you need to come from the manual side of things. You need to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t work.”

Convertech pays well,In spite of that, “nobody wants to get their hands dirty,” Taitel said.

The BLS said in its report that the manufacturing sector is projected to experience the largest employment loss of any sector. “A projected loss of 814,000 jobs from 2014 to 2024 would reduce manufacturing employment to just under 11.4 million. While the loss is large, it is less than 40% of the loss that was experienced from 2004 to 2014, when more than 2.1 million manufacturing jobs were lost.” And the annual decline of 0.7% over the current projection period is less than the 1.6% annual decline that occurred from 2004 to 2014, the BLS report noted.

Taitel thinks that one solution is letting people know that manufacturing is not yet dead; that it’s not even on life support. “Everybody thinks manufacturing has left the country, but China took the low-paying, mass-production jobs,” he commented. “Everybody thinks that if you don’t go to college you can’t make money, and [that] manufacturing is bad work.”

But it’s going to take a lot of work on the part of manufacturers to attract young people to manufacturing. They will need to engage in collaborative efforts with high school guidance counselors to put young people on a trade track and help community colleges set up manufacturing technology programs and then support those programs to keep them relevant.

NJMEP’s John Kennedy agrees. “Manufacturers can’t sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem. We have to fix it ourselves by imparting to our elected officials and school curriculum decision makers how important skills training is for our students, our manufacturers and our state. We’re looking for New Jersey to support apprenticeships and get us back on track for everyone’s sake,” he stated. “It’s up to us. Those of us who have spent our lives in this amazing industry must make sure that we pass the word along to all who will listen to help ensure our future.”

Machinists Wanted in North New Jersey

shopConvertech, a leading manufacturer of expanding shafts and chucks, is looking for experienced Manufacturing Machine Operators. Your experience running a manual lathe will make you a perfect fit for this Manual Lathe Machinist role. At Convertech, we produce a very custom product with very short lead teams and run a clean modern shop. If you are looking for an opportunity where you can grow your career with a dynamic company with great hours and low turnover rates, we want to talk to you!

Job Responsibilities: In the Manufacturing Machine Operator role, as a Manual Lathe Machinist, you will be responsible for setting up and operating a variety of manufacturing machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Additional responsibilities of the Manufacturing Machine Operator role include:

• Setting up and operating manufacturing machines, such as lathes, cutters, shears, millers, presses, drills, etc., to make metallic and plastic work pieces

• Reading blueprints or job orders to determine product specifications and tooling instructions

• Measuring dimensions of finished work pieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures

Job Requirements: Successful candidates for the Manufacturing Machine Operator must have manual lathe experience in a manufacturing environment. Someone with a strong attention to detail, a good attitude, and an eagerness to learn and grow would be a good fit for this role. Additional requirements of this Manufacturing Machine Operator role include experience in a fast-paced manufacturing environment, running a manual lathe.

Benefits: At Convertech, we are always looking for experienced people to join our dedicated team. We encourage a strong team environment and friendly atmosphere with great working hours! As a Manufacturing Machine Operator, you will work from 7:00 AM – 3:30 PM and will be eligible to receive a benefits package, including:

• Health insurance

• 401(k) retirement plan

• Profit Sharing

• Pension

• Generous vacation and sick time