Moraine Park Technical College held its spring Manufacturing Skills Academy graduation on Wednesday, June 12. The College had 21 students graduate from the program; eight from the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinist boot camp and 13 from the welding boot camp.
This program was designed to combat the skilled worker shortage by offering a variety of boot camp sessions. The boot camp sessions are free to participants, teach skills that are unique to a particular pathway, and connect students with area employers. The program also combines a 144-hour paid internship with coursework, including Occupational Math, Print Reading, Team Building, Problem Solving, and program-specific courses. Participating internship sites for this session were Amerequip Corporation, Apache Stainless, Generac Power Systems, Mayville Engineering Company, Miba, Mid States Aluminum, Signicast, Tobin Machining, Wabash National, Weasler Engineering, and X-Cel Tooling.
Moraine Park has had 377 participants in the welding and CNC boot camp programs since their induction in 2012.
The spring 2019 CNC graduates are Michael Adam Abitz of North Fond du Lac, Cory Fleischfresser of Fond du Lac, Dustin Marx of Fond du Lac, Troy Riehl of Fond du Lac, Deavin Schaub of Waupun, Nancy Sery of Hartford, Demetrius Smith of West Bend, and Kou Vang of Fond du Lac.
The spring 2019 welding graduates are Christian Bailey-Steenport of West bend, Peter Demmerle of Fond du Lac, Austin Fingar of Redgranite, Nathan Hankins of Chilton, Xavier Kitchens of Fond du Lac, Dimitri Lloyd of Fond du Lac, Ontarius McFerren of West Bend, Joshua Mikula of Plymouth, Armando Murillo of Fond du Lac, Taylor Nett of Fond du Lac, Shane Rau of Fond du Lac, Dani Schommer of Fond du Lac, and Bobby Wiercioch of Fond du Lac.
This year’s graduation speakers were Smith and Hankins.
Smith, a CNC graduate, is grateful for the experience Moraine Park gave him through the boot camp program.
“This program has opened many doors,” he said. “MPTC has given us opportunities that we otherwise would not have. This program was free, and it came with 16 college credits, so some would even say it’s better than free. Some of us will add on to what we’ve learned so far. I know I will.”
Smith served his internship at Weasler in West Bend and is now a full-time employee.
Hankins, a welding graduate, shared the story of how he thought the opportunity was too good to be true.
“I thought it was a scam,” Hankins said. “It’s so unique and unheard of that it’s nearly unbelievable.”
Hankins’s hesitations quickly faded, and he embraced the entire experience, noting that he made some lasting connections in the process. He completed his internship at Amerequip in Kiel and is a current employee.
“Be confident in your abilities, but don’t ever think you can just coast,” he said. “You don’t get to stop learning and trying just because you got a certificate or a job.”
Moraine Park’s Skills Academy boot camps are free to participating students, thanks to financial support from area businesses including Amerequip Corporation, Apache Stainless, Generac Power Systems, Mayville Engineering Company, Miba, Mid States Aluminum, Signicast, Tobin Machining, Wabash National, Weasler Engineering, and X-Cel Tooling.
Additionally, the welding training was partially funded through a GPR grant that incorporates both Adult Basic Education and welding. The purpose of this training is to allow students to complete both their High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) and the welding boot camp.
Individuals interested in learning more about the CNC and welding boot camp opportunities are encouraged to attend a Boot Camp Test Drive event scheduled at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus on July 16 and 18, and the Beaver Dam campus on July 23. For more information, visit morainepark.edu/bootcamps.
The full photo gallery of photos can be found here.