In a region where skilled workers are essential for economic growth, Moraine Park Technical College has a handle on the necessary training tools for manufacturing companies to build and maintain their competitive edge. Moraine Park’s Economic and Workforce Development department has a long-standing relationship with many manufacturing companies in the region, one of the largest being Mayville Engineering Company, Inc., (MEC). A manufacturing and fabricating company, MEC has seven locations, including facilities in Mayville, Beaver Dam, Berlin, Neillsville and Wautoma.
According to a 2011 Northeastern Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance index, manufacturing has served a vital role in the growth and prosperity of Northeastern Wisconsin throughout the region’s history. Nowhere was this more evident than during the most recent recession, where the region’s manufacturing base helped to minimize losses. At present, the region’s manufacturers are leading the recovery.
Challenges remain for manufacturing companies like MEC in areas of attraction and retention of skilled workers. This is where Moraine Park comes into play. MEC has invested in state-of- the-art technology, process improvement and employee skills, allowing growth in existing markets and expansion into new ones. The company has proven that they are willing to invest in their employees in order to build a skilled workforce, powered by Moraine Park’s training solutions.
Moraine Park has provided MEC with training in leadership, blueprint reading, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, problem solving, and six sigma green belt and six sigma black belt certifications.
Michael Wisnefsky, of Waunakee, was hired at MEC just under a year ago as a process engineer. Wisnefsky earned his undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison but continues to advance his skills through training offered by Moraine Park. “As a newer member of the MEC team, I was thoroughly pleased that my company was willing to invest in my success through learning and that of my coworkers,” he said.
A few months ago, Wisnefsky went through Moraine Park’s 8D Problem Solving training and now attends Six Sigma Green Belt training classes, in addition to classes in Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, and SolidWorks.
Are the training classes paying off for Wisnefsky? He believes they are.
“I see myself bringing back my Moraine Park training to MEC every day,” he said. One example he provided was with assisting the Quality department. “Occasionally we will have a problem with a particular part we produce, and my training allows me to assist in the root cause analysis and help determine a robust solution.”
In another case, Wisnefsky had to create a model of a part. Complications arose using traditional design methods, so he took what he had learned in the SolidWorks training he’d received at Moraine Park to create the model. “A few weeks in Moraine Park’s SolidWorks class, and I was able to construct a fairly complicated assembly in under one day,” he said.
Wisnefsky also mentioned the fact that every day he has to look at prints from customers and needs to understand not only what they want out of the part but identify errors that may have been overlooked. “The Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing class enhanced the analysis process and has helped us produce and deliver parts on time to our customers.”
The Moraine Park training classes blend a lecture format and group exercises to demonstrate the process and key points. “This was especially true in the 8D training, where our instructor used an issue we had encountered in the past to demonstrate the process,” Wisnefsky said. “In the Green Belt class, there is a project required, and the class is small enough that we can all work on everyone’s project a little, offer help and receive help in return.”
Barry Hoopes, MEC’s vice president of Human Resources, sees employee training as a return on investment for their business. To him, the partnership between MEC and Moraine Park just makes sense. “If we can provide the training our employees need to do their job more effectively, we not only help the individual gain new skills, but we are better able to meet the goals of the company,” said Hoopes. “We’ve grown our business and a skilled workforce is one of the reasons we’ve been so successful.”
“As changes occur in the workplace, it’s crucial for MEC to maintain a competitive, highly-skilled workforce,” said Kathy Schlieve, Moraine Park’s Economic and Workforce Development representative. “It provides a competitive advantage to an employer like MEC when their employees gain the skills needed to adapt to changes in technology, improve quality and productivity, and focus on solutions that best meet their customers’ needs.”
Schlieve says the MEC and Moraine Park relationship has proven integral to the success of both organizations. MEC has gone the extra step to allow their company, and in turn the economy of their region, to flourish by remaining competitive through Moraine Park training. For Moraine Park, the partnership is one way the College is able to stay abreast of changes in business. “Moraine Park continually adjusts program outcomes with the changes we’re identifying within the businesses we serve,” said Schlieve. “This helps our graduates best meet the needs of their future employers.”
For more information on job opportunities at MEC, visit mayvl.com. For more information on Moraine Park’s Economic and Workforce Development efforts, visit morainepark.edu/training.