Autocam Medical, a global contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices, presented 11 students with certificates of completion for their CNC Machinist Apprentice Program during a November 10th ceremony at the AMP Lab at Western Michigan University in Grand Rapids.
The event, recognizing the company’s fourth class of graduates, was kicked off with a few words of motivation and inspiration by John Kennedy, IV, General Manager of Autocam Medical, and Dr. Bill Pink, President of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).
The year-round program requires students to complete over 700 hours of classroom instruction over a period of 90 weeks. Apprentices are employed by Autocam Medical, maintaining a full work schedule during the training period. In addition to CNC Machinist certification, the course of study also covers the necessary schooling required by the Federal Department of Labor for students to receive a certified Journeyman card and puts them on the path to receive an associate degree, earning 27 college credits.
The Grand Rapids Community College instructor, Andy Beach, an industry veteran with over 20 years of relevant hands-on experience, emphasized the program’s benefits, “Autocam Medical’s Apprentice Program is a win-win; it’s a win for the skilled trades industry and a win for the students,” says Beach. “The students gain skills that put them on a career path with unlimited opportunity, and it helps build a ready workforce for the manufacturing industry, which is starving for CNC Machinists.”
As part of their training, students are challenged to machine two intricate objects. These finished projects are reflective of the caliber of machinists produced by the program. In fact, two graduates, Wrindy Hauser and Ethan Richey, recently won a first-place prize in Mastercam’s global Master of CAM Wildest Parts Machining Competition in the Teams Division for a Thor’s Hammer they machined.
“Our program is quite uncommon. In addition to the specialized training that our students receive, we pay for 100% of their college tuition and provide them with a full-time job while they are receiving training,” says Kristy White, HR Director for Autocam Medical. “The unique Apprenticeship Program is a key reason the company was named the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s EPIC Award winner in the Excellence in Business category this year.”
Autocam Medical has built around investing in employees and their growth within a culture that trusts and respects every individual. The company’s success is dependent on the knowledge that employees bring to the team every day.