Butler Tech Precision Machining students brought their best to the SkillsUSA Mini Competition, competing for a spot on the team that will attend regionals. Between all the hustle and bustle, students were also demonstrating their skills to over 30 leading Cincinnati manufacturers who were making offers for their apprenticeship and co-op programs.
At each machine, students vigorously calculated how to shape small, metallic blocks into the design outlined in their blueprints. “We’ve all been practicing for this for a couple of months now. We’re definitely ready,” said junior Connor Cronin.
Recruiters from companies such as Rhinestahl, Setco, and GE Aviation were in attendance looking for students with the skills they so greatly value. Julian Cornwall, a junior in the program, caught the eye of many of the professionals. “I still can’t believe 13 job offers,” says an excited Cornwall. “It’s been great having recruiters walk up and show interest in you and your work.”
“The skills that we learn in this program set us up for success and a decent paying job,” says Andrew McMahon, a Butler Tech graduate who now works as a machinist at Faxon. “The one thing I can say for sure, in my experience, is I’ve never had a problem finding a job and that’s because we provide a need companies are desperate for.”
Manufacturing companies offer students apprenticeship and co-op programs that not only give them real-world experience and a lucrative income, but tuition reimbursement to cover most, if not all, of their college education.
“I’m currently working making parts for hydraulic receive machines and robots,” says Austin Beske, Precision Machining junior. “My apprenticeship will pay for my tuition so I can earn my associate’s and bachelor’s degree – all I have to pay for are my books. So the money I’m earning now, I’m saving for a down payment on a house or car.”
Many parents are sometimes concerned when their child doesn’t take the traditional route of attending college. But for Cornwall’s mother, “It feels good to have him in this program because I know he’s making a decision on his own without me pushing him into anything he doesn’t want. This is a decision he’s made based on the knowledge he’s learned and looked up.”
Winners of the competition are: Austin Beske for CNC Lathing; Thomas Donahue for Manual Machining; and Damien Jeffries for CNC Milling. They will attend the SkillsUSA Regional Competition in February at Sinclair College.