By Patrick Lynn
Mid-State Technical College is marking its second annual graduation of Metal Mania.
The trades-focused program graduated 14 students during a special celebration on Aug. 16. The eight-week program was designed for those interested in a career as a machinist, with five graduating from the introductory program and nine from the advanced program for those continuing their training as a machinist. F
According to a news release from Mid-State, the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturers Alliance (CWIMMA) covered the cost of tuition and books for the students.
“Metal Mania is all about building a pipeline of young workers for this region of the state to keep industry and manufacturing alive and well in our area,” said Ron Polum, CWIMMA representative and Pointe Precision vice president of operations. “This is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with a career in machining prior to actually committing to a full two-year degree.”
Advanced Metal Mania graduate Caleb Cline calls the free summer program a “no-brainer” for students considering a career as a machinist.
Cline was first attracted to the machine tool field during high school, which led to a Youth Apprenticeship with current employer Pointe Precision while still enrolled at Port Edwards High School.
“I chose machine tool because it’s not just hands-on; it’s thinking, and it pays really well because employers are always looking to fill jobs with Baby Boomers now retiring,” he said.
Cline now serves as the vice president of the Wisconsin Chapter of SkillsUSA, and will, along with seven of his peers, soon enter his second year in Mid-State’s Machine Tool Technician program.
From the introductory Metal Mania program, three out of five graduates will continue in high school, one plans to enter the workforce, and one will start in the Fire Protection Technician program.
Mid-State plans to continue Metal Mania again next summer, with the help of CWIMMA, to help students discover the machine tool field and address the projected shortage of skilled workers in the industry.
To learn more about Mid-State’s programs and services, please call 888-575-6782 or visit www.mstc.edu.