Jim Hokenson, CNC/Tool and Die instructor at the West Bend Campus, has been with Moraine Park for nearly 20-years and is an alumnus! He has worked hard to become established in the College and community, specifically with educating our youth on the manufacturing career options.
“After completing my schooling at Moraine Park and finishing my apprenticeship in tool and die, I moved through a few different shops gaining different experiences and skill sets,” Jim said. “I then moved to a machine tool distributor as an applications engineer. During this time I realized there was a void in formal education specifically related to Computer Numerical Control (CNC). So, when I came across the opportunity to teach CNC and Tool and Die, I felt it was the right fit for me. I like being able to pay forward the knowledge shared with me, making a difference for the future workers in the trade.”
Jim states that he is challenged on a regular basis.
“Everything here is constantly evolving, and you can’t help but evolve along with it,” Jim said. “The students are really the best part of my career. Each one has a different story, and they make me smile on a daily basis.”
He encourages students interested in working with their hands and problem solving to consider a career in CNC/Tool and Die.
“There will always be a need for a good tool and die maker,” Jim said. “Once you have these skill sets, you will find that there jobs available all over. Also, Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program is nationally recognized.”
Jim has made quite an impression on his students over the years.
Here are just a few comments his students had to say about him.
“Jim makes you think. If you have an issue, he will ask you questions to try to get you to solve the issue. He is very honest and understanding. Jim enjoys helping people progress and better themselves. This makes him a great teacher.”- Zach Fahrenkrug, CNC student
“Jim is an instructor that goes above and beyond to teach the most he can about manufacturing. He always has a personal experience to go along with what he’s teaching. “- Isaac Schrage, CNC student
“I consider Jim Hokenson as the foreman of the shop. He leads everyone in the right direction and always gives out fun projects to do. He knows his field very very well and can teach it well too. “- Colin Schultz, CNC student
It’s obvious that Jim has been an inspiration to many, and he credits his great-grandfather as his inspiration.
“My great-grandfather served an apprenticeship for a machine tool builder in Milwaukee,” Jim said. ” He taught me how to read a micrometer when I was 8-years old and inspired my creativeness by showing me how to use the tools in his workshop. I wish I could have a coffee with him and talk about machine tools.”
His greatest accomplishment to date is the co-creation of the 2- year CNC program at Moraine Park, which merged with the previously existing Tool and Die program.
“I didn’t do this alone, but I would have to say it is my greatest accomplishment,” Jim said. “I am proud of the unique program here at Moraine Park.”
He is grateful for his relationship with the local business owners, managers, and staff who encouraged him to peruse a career in education.
Finally, his parting advice for any current or prospective students is to get an education!
“They can take the clothes off your back, but they can’t take the knowledge out of your head.”
We are proud of the work that Jim does and continues to do.
For more information on Moraine Park programs, visit morainepark.edu.