One of the most successful programs at Antigo’s Northcentral Technical College—in fact an offering that almost guarantees a well-paying job for enrollees—will kick off its spring term within weeks.
The college is taking applications for the January start-up of the machine tool operation technical diploma program, where students learn the skills to operate the various type of machine tools that are in high demand in today’s job market.
“Area employers are hiring student from our program faster than we can train them,” Larry Kind, dean of NTC’s Antigo campus, said. “Employment opportunities and wage coming out of this program are excellent and we continue to enjoy solid relationships with our local business partners.”
Through the machine tool operation program students can qualify for in-demand, well-paying jobs following just nine months of training. And studies provide it is working. According to the College’s 2011 graduate employment report, the average annual salary for NTC graduates in this field is $35,360.
Two local businesses who partner in the program with great success are Merit Gear and Waukesha Bearings.
According to Mary Ann Kangas, who heads the human resources department at Merit Gear, as the company has continued to grow and customer demand for more precision gears has increased, they have found it more challenging to recruit skilled machinists who are looking for employment opportunities in the area.
We have found that partnering with NTC in Antigo has been very favorable,” Kangas said. “We believe with the excellent training the students receive at NTC along with on the job experience, students are prepared for the demands of a career in machining. Merit Gear has hired a number of students from NTC’s machine tool program and we have been pleased with the results.”
The Merit Gear program includes the opportunity for flexible schedules and part-time work while students complete their studies.
Waukesha Bearings, another enthusiastic partner, will select up to six individuals who are registered for January classes and hire them to work in the Antigo facility while simultaneously earning an accelerated certificate.
Elysia Hoddel, human resources generalist for Waukesha Bearings, emphasized that the company is looking for people who are willing to learn.
“In addition we want people with a good work ethic and a positive attitude,” Hoddel said.
Selected students will be hired full-time for 40 hours per week and will split their time between working at the company, completing course competencies on the company floor and attending class to supplement the certificate requirements.
The company will also provide those who are selected with medical and dental benefits, and pay for the tuition and books. All selected candidates will sign a three-year contract with Waukesha Bearings, which will be discussed in detail during the interview process.
To be eligible, interested persons must apply and complete admissions testing by 4 p.m. on Dec. 11. Waukesha Bearings will interview select individuals from the applicant pool. Admissions test scores will be an important consideration in the selection process, so applicants are encouraged to contact NTC as soon as possible for free assistance that will help them prepare for the admissions test. Interviews will be held in December. Those who are selected will be informed before Dec. 21. Classes start on Jan. 7.
Kind noted that other area companies are also offering opportunities to work in related manufacturing jobs while they complete their coursework.
“NTC will help the students apply for financial aid and scholarships to help with school expenses, and most students are eligible,” Kind said. “The opportunity to work part-time in the industry and the available financial aid makes the machine tool program a great option for anyone who wants a new great paying career.” Kind said.
To apply or to receive additional details, contact NTC Antigo Enrollment Advisor Kimmie Kretz at 715-623-7601, Ext. 7308. Do not contact the individual employers.
“Skilled machinists make a good living and this is a fantastic opportunity to get started on a career in that field,” Kind said. “It is a great opportunity for anyone who needs to maintain a steady income while they are in college.”
Evan Skarlupka, left, and Alan VanderKooy work in the machinist lab at Northcentral Technical College