Advancing Manufacturing Skills in Wisconsin
Students graduating from the Machine Tooling Technics program at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) start out with more than a 2-year Technical Diploma. They also earn positions and internships with the many manufacturing shops and plants in the surrounding Eau Claire, Wisconsin community.
To assure plenty of CNC machine time for each student, the school’s shop area boasts more than 30 Haas CNC mills and lathes. According to CVTC instructor Dave Thompson, to keep pace with the advancements in automated manufacturing, they use Mastercam in their CAD/CAM labs, so each student has his or her own station. He expresses gratitude for the continuing support Mastercam has given them.
CVTC students concentrate on both mold work and precision components because most of the industry in the region is comprised of mold builders and contract manufacturers. Dave Thompson also shared that these students are in high demand, with seven jobs available for each graduate. And Mastercam is helping them get a firm grasp on their career path.
It is interesting to note that the equipment, software, and even advancements in the program itself are due, in great part, to local industry. They have an advisory committee comprised of shop owners and managers who tell them what their students will need to know to compete for jobs in the manufacturing community. They say that the features of the Haas machines will make them comfortable with what they’ll find in most plants, while Mastercam is programming software that is in place throughout Wisconsin’s industrial sector.
The college’s relationship with local industry extends well beyond having several individuals serving on the advisory committee. Because of the reputation gained through the thoroughness of the Machine Tooling Technics program, manufacturing companies in the region look to the college to fill an ever-growing need for qualified programmers and machine operators.
Students are usually working in local companies by their second semester, with the companies accommodating each student with a work schedule that does not interfere with their college schedule. It is understood that the students will not be offered full-time employment, or receive advancements within a company, until they complete CVTC’s program. Several internship programs are also available at firms in the region for students in their fourth semester.
You can learn more in the Tech Directions article: Chippewa Valley Tech Students Bond with Local Industry.