Transforming Manufacturing


Do you remember when manufacturing jobs were known as dark and dangerous? Moraine Park’s CNC/Tool and Die instructor, Jim Hokenson, has been working to eliminate that myth. He has a mission not only to train workers for this career field but also to re-educate the community on the realities of the industry.

“The truth is, our local manufacturers have clean factories with state-of-the-art equipment, “Jim said. “They provide a steady career with great benefits and an even better income.”

There’s no denying the importance of manufacturing in our world today, and for those that are gravitating towards this industry, it is all in the numbers.

“There will always be a need for a good tool and die specialist,” Jim said. “Once you have the manufacturing skill sets, you will find that there are jobs available all over Wisconsin.”

Jim has been with the College for 20-years and is also a Moraine Park alumni. During his time, he has worked hard to become established in the community, specifically with educating our youth on the manufacturing career options.

“The earlier we can introduce options, the better,” Jim said. “I think it’s important that we identify and build upon skills.”

His 2019 class has 17 second-year students, all of whom will be graduating with their two-year technical diploma. Most were hired in the industry before graduating and there are many more jobs to fill.

“It seems that we can’t teach them fast enough,” Jim said. “The employers we work with know the value of educating students with the essential real-world skills. We try to work alongside both the companies and students to find a good fit all around. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach and influence our local workforce.”


Written by Kristina Haensgen
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