LYNDON AND LOCAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Manufacturers in the area can look forward to having a larger pool of skilled workers to hire thanks to the Northeast Kingdom Manufacturing Training Program (NEK MFP). The new program will be graduating their first class of five students on Monday, August 1, at 12 p.m. at the Charles Carter Business Resource Center in the Lyndonville/St. Johnsbury Industrial Park.
Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan will be the special guest. Steve Gold, Lyndon State College’s interim president, will also be in attendance.
Lyndon State College partnered with NSA Industries, Weidmann, Vermont Aerospace, Northeast Precision, Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC), Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), two regional Career and Technical Education Centers (Lyndon Institute and St. Johnsbury Academy), and White Mountains Community College, to offer the pilot session of the NEK MTP beginning in May. The College developed this program after learning that regional economic growth has been limited in recent years by the availability of qualified employees—manufacturing is in fact a growing segment of the American economy. Compounding this challenge, up to half of the employees of the participating manufacturers will reach retirement age over the next 5 to 10 years.
The full program will train up to 48 individuals in its first year and plans to expand capacity to train additional employees in future years through the combined support of the employers, private gifts, and public funding.
The comprehensive 8-week course teaches the basic skills required to be a safe and efficient entry-level machinist: blueprint reading, machining mathematics, CNC milling and turning, machine setup and safety, feed and speed rates, machinability, shop floor measurement/inspection, and basic programming of CNC machines. Each session can accommodate up to 12 students. Two manufacturing training specialists, Tom Bishop and David Seipel, have been hired on a temporary basis to teach this program.
The next session of the NEK MTP starts August 22. Areas resident who are interested in this employee-sponsored training opportunity are urged to attend a Manufacturing Career Fair Thursday, August 4, from 4-7 p.m. at the Carter Center in the Lyndonville/St. J Industrial Park. Interested candidates can also complete an application at the Vermont Department of Labor office in St. Johnsbury or Newport, or contact the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at (802) 626-4867. For those accepted into the program, all tuition, materials, and books are -provided at no cost. The program is funded in part by a Next Generation (Act 46) Grant from the Vermont Department of Labor.
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