Manufacturing Associations Hope that New Legislation Will Help Combat Sector's Growing Skills Gap

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Washington, DC - The National Tooling and Machining Association and the Precision Metalforming Association, together known as “One Voice,” today applaud President Obama’s signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803).

When mold maker Jeremy Sheldon got laid off from his job at a Carson City, NV plastic company, he knew he had to change directions, but he wasn’t certain which way to turn.

“That was about 1999, and I was in my early twenties,” he says. “I had just spent the past six years going through a five-year mold making apprenticeship, working in machine shops, and fi nally building and repairing molds for a plastic company in the Carson Valley. When I got laid off from that last job, I sat down and took a hard look at things.”

Precision is a word that's throw around a lot in manufacturing. Nowhere are the requirements and challenges for precision higher than in aerospace machining.

Despite their complex geometries and often ultra-thin tolerances, parts manufactured for the aerospace industry frequently have to stand up to high stress loads and vibration levels while surviving extreme environments. These factors - and the reality that some parts could wind up hundreds of millions of miles from earth, where there are no options for repair - make the margin for error nano-thin.

The story of the mail room clerk who works his way up in a giant corporation is a cliche in Hollywood movies. Not so common is the story of a teenage chip-sweeper, machine-cleaner in a machine shop who works his way up to become the owner-president of a highly successful silicon-valley machining job shop.