Aug 26 2016

Out With The New, In With The Old


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Every year about this time, we say goodbye (temporarily) to the students who have worked for us over the summer. This year, Cole Pittman, will be returning to Acton-Boxborough High School for his senior year and Nick Murner, will be returning to UMass Amherst for his sophomore year.  Our sheet metal and assembly areas have been busier this summer than we were expecting, so some former ETM employees have come back part time to fill the void left by Cole and Nick.  This is a great way to support our local community while providing young people a chance to experience a manufacturing environment.

A lot has been said in our industry about our inability to attract young, bright workers to manufacturing – particularly sheet metal fabrication – because of the perception of it the antiquated perception of it being dirty and loud.  Without young people entering manufacturing, the pipeline is drying up for manufacturing lead, supervisors and managers.  As a result, 613,000 open positions are predicted for GM and Ops Mgrs over the next 7 years.  We need to act now if we are going to have viable local manufacturing tomorrow.  And, if you’ve read other blogs of mine, you know that manufacturing exports are one of the few ways we can increase the quality of life in our communities.

One way we encourage this is by hiring college and high school students over the summer, but we also work with our local Vocational High School. For the past several years we have been hiring juniors and seniors from their sheet metal welding classes to work part time at ETM Manufacturing under the guidance of our lead welder.  We like to hire 2 students together and they job share (vo-tech typically is 1 week work, 1 week classroom, so the 2 students alternate).  The students love it because they get real world experience (plus a good paycheck) and we love it because we need the help & we can screen for future full time hires.  We typically hire about 50% of the students into full time positions.

This year we are upping our game and engaging Seniors from UMass Amherst this fall semester to help us develop the next generation of light weight bakery carts. We already have a new hybrid design that save 15% weight and is 2x as strong.  With their help, we hope to get another 10% weight savings and improve cart strength by another 25%.  The students will get a chance to test the existing design and then work with our sheet metal engineers to design, build and test the new design.  It should be a lot of fun and give these budding engineers a real taste for manufacturing.

If you have other ideas we can work with the local community to promote sheet metal manufacturing interest, please let us know! 978-486-9050.

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