Multiple Pathways for Success: Here are four stories that give you a snapshot of what the Manufacturing Connect program means for students graduating from Austin Polytech. These are just a few of the stories that demonstrate the reality that there are multiple pathways for success for students even in the most troubled school districts when you have a program like Manufacturing Connect.
William, Class of 2012: William was a very good student and very active in the Manufacturing Connect program having work experience and earning two NIMS credentials. He was awarded scholarships to go to Northern Illinois University to study engineering. He attended for one year. He did not stay on top of his tuition payments and the university locked his transcripts until he paid his debt. William came to our office to seek assistance finding a job in manufacturing. He was hired at a local company February 2014 making $15/hour as a machine operator. He has since paid off his debt to NIU. He’s now continuing his education at Morraine Valley College to complete an AAS in engineering technology under the company’s tuition re-imbursement program.
Rico, Class of 2013: Rico did not even register on our radar screen when he was a student at APA. He quietly earned two NIMS credentials. He wasn’t a good student, but was captain of the football team and popular with his classmates. Soon after he graduated, he asked for help finding a career job in manufacturing. He simply stated that he wasn’t ready for college. After a few job coaching sessions, we set up an interview at a local company. He was hired. He started at $14.92/hour plus benefits. Rico was thrilled to get the job. He has since been promoted to Machine Operator making $19.60/hour plus overtime. He is a proud owner of two cars. Last year we estimated he made close to $70,000. He has been working there for almost two years.
Thomas, Class of 2014: Thomas was an average student, a quiet and thoughtful young man who decided his senior year he wanted to pursue a career in manufacturing. He earned 2 NIMS credentials. We helped him get a job a family-owned company. After about four months, we got a phone call from the HR Director who was concerned about Thomas. He was missing days and coming in late. She shared with us that a family conflict left him homeless and it was complicating his ability to get to work on time. She gave Thomas an interest-free loan to help him get through this difficult time, and asked us if there was anything we could do to help him resolve his situation. We found him a space in in a temporary housing facility that was closer to his job, and he was able to resume coming to work on time. Two weeks later he was able to resolve his family conflict and return home. He has now been on the job for almost a year and has since received a promotion becoming a Press Brake Operator. He just celebrated the company’s 50 year anniversary with his coworkers with an all-expenses paid cruise in the Bahamas.
The Young Manufacturer’s Association: Torres, Stran’Ja, and Trevon–three graduates of Austin Polytech and active participants in the Manufacturing Connect program– have secured manufacturing jobs and are taking a big step in organizing the Young Manufacturer’s Association. The YMA will serve several purposes.
It will be a support group. The leap into manufacturing is not always the easiest transition especially for a young person just starting their career.
A place for on-going education and leadership development on the various aspects of manufacturing.
An organization to reach out to the youth in our region encouraging them to pursue careers in manufacturing. There’s nothing like a young person with personal experience speaking to another young person about the great opportunities in 21st Century manufacturing.