Employment, Workforce & Education

Meet Jacob: Apprentice at Elna Magnetics

 

Jacob has been working at Elna Magnetics for the past 7 months as a Machinist. Elna Magnetics is a custom machine shop producing specialized ferrite cores; they provide custom machining services as well as authorized distribution of an extensive range of magnetic products. They provide their customers with both standard and custom solutions for power, signal, suppression and RFID applications. Jacob’s role as machinist is integral in ensuring accuracy, and when serving the industrial, medical, military and aerospace industries that exactness is incredibly important. He’s responsible for setting up each machine to specific specs and grinding the stones down to precise thousands of an inch to get the desired electrical readings.

Jacob grew up in Saugerties, NY and jumped into the manufacturing industry after graduating from high school. He started his career at Simulaids, a local manufacturer that produces healthcare training aids such as CPR manikins, patient simulators and trauma moulage products. Jacob spent a year at Simulaids exploring several different departments. He gained experience using heat sealers, large machines that use radio frequencies to seal materials together, he was also exposed to CNC machining and programing, and spent some time working in the foam room which ensures that the manikins are the correct texture, consistency and weight. During his time there Jacob got experience in a lot of different areas of the industry and discovered that he most enjoyed the time he spent working with CNC machines.

Before working at Simulaids Jacob was unsure about his career. However, after spending several years working in manufacturing and seeing firsthand the opportunities to learn and advance, Jacob told us that he plans to stay in the industry. He is currently an Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprentice at Elna where he’s further developing his skills and gaining a more well rounded understanding of manufacturing. The IMT apprenticeship is an entry level program for individuals just starting out in the industry and its often used as a stepping stone to the other trades: Machinist (CNC), Toolmaker, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance and Electro-Mechanical Technician. Jacob told us that he hopes to transition into the CNC Machinist trade after completing his current apprenticeship.

Jacob shared with us that he’s learned a lot so far during his time at Elna and the apprentice program has been instrumental in expanding that knowledge even further. He first learned about the program from his boss Jimmy Ferarro who recommended that he join. “I wanted to take on more responsibility in my career and the apprentice program seemed like a great opportunity to learn more and potentially put myself onto a better career trajectory” said Jacob.

Apprentices that are enrolled in the Council of Industry’s NYS Registered Apprentice Program are required to complete a combination of on-the-job training with a skilled mentor, and related instruction courses that teach the more fundamental aspects of the trade. Jacob told us that he’s found the related instruction courses especially helpful. So far he’s taken Manufacturing Math Fundamentals and Introduction to Mechanical Properties through Tooling-U, an online learning platform designed for the manufacturing industry. He told us that he’s been able to proactively apply the knowledge he’s gained from those courses in his day-to-day responsibilities at Elna. He said, “Through the testing in Tooling-U I definitely have a better understanding of the industry and my current role.”

Jacob also plans to take advantage of the related instruction courses offered through SUNY Ulster. Through the SUNY Apprenticeship Grant, SUNY Ulster allows registered apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade-related classes for free. Many apprentices have taken advantage of this program by enrolling in their Advanced Manufacturing Program, and Jacob hopes to do the same. 

You can learn more about Elna Magnetics in the latest issue of HV Mfg Magazine HERE and on the Council of Industry Podcast HERE.

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

 

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FIRST Robotics Will Hold a Regional Competition at Rockland Community College

 

Imagine a competition where of teams excited, technology-driven high school students compete head to head with robots they have designed, built and programmed themselves. Imagine hundreds of such teams competing in the Hudson Valley over a single weekend for the chance to advance to compete in front of 70,000 people in April at the FIRST Championship in Houston and again in May in Detroit. You don’t have to imagine it – it is real and will happen March 19 -20, 2020 at the Rockland Community College Athletic Center and you can be a part of it. Click here for event information.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 and is the world’s leading youth serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math. This program inspires students in grades K -12 worldwide while teaching leadership by engaging them in hands-on robotics challenges. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is for grade K-4, FIRST LEGO League is Grades 4- 8, and FIRST Tech Challenge covers grades 7 -12, while the FIRST Robotics Competition is grade 9 -12.

The program is supported by corporations, educational and professional institutions and individuals who provide mentorship time and talent, equipment, and funding. Participation in FIRST is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields. They develop self-confidence in STEM and real-world skills that can lead to careers in STEM related fields and more. High school participants are also eligible to apply for more than $80 million in scholarships to participating colleges and universities.

Working with professional Mentors participants design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students. The competition teams create powerful mentoring relationships between the students and professional mentors, many of which are engineers and other professionals. The event starts with a Kickoff event that unveils a new, exciting, and challenging game. From the Kickoff, teams have limited time to build and program a robot to compete in the game using a kit of parts provided by FIRST and a standard set of rules. This year’s theme focuses on renewable sources of energy and is titled INFINITE RECHARGE.

Perhaps the program has achieved such amazing results because FIRST is known for Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. If you haven’t heard these terms before – “Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.” And at FIRST, Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.” Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

Last year nearly 100,000 high school students on 3,940 FIRST Robotics Competition teams took part in 100 district events, 11 District Championships, and 62 Regional Events (in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Turkey), and the FIRST Championship. Teams are comprised of professional mentors and 10 or more student members in grades 9-12. In addition, each FIRST team has one or more sponsors. Those sponsors include companies, universities, or professional organizations that donate their time, talent, funds, equipment, and much more to the team effort.

FIRST is a volunteer driven organization with more than 255,000 volunteer roles filled in the 2017-18 season. There are several FIRST programs in the Hudson Valley and opportunities for anyone reading this to become a volunteer. Many of the technical roles may require some experience and training but there are opportunities for safety advisors, field set-up, field re-set and similar tasks that can be a good fit for a first-time technical volunteer. Interested volunteers can visit the FIRST Inspires website HERE for more information about how to become a mentor, coach, or event volunteer.

Your company can also support the Regional Competition by participating in the College and Career Fair planned for the first day of the competition, March 19, 2020.  Your participation will highlight the many career options open to these highly motivated students in manufacturing.

For more information visit the FIRST Inspire website HERE.

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Wage and Benefit Survey 2019 Executive Summery

Twenty-three companies reported data to the 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey conducted by Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research and School of Management, and, sponsored by the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York and Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions. Highlights of information collected include the following points:

  • In 2019, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the management group, 10 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.0% for the professional group, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.1% for the administrative/clerical group, 11 reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the technical group, 14 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group, and 11 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the sales group. These were in line with the pay increases observed nationally which came in at 3.2%.
  • For 2020, companies reporting planned increases of 3.2% for the management group, 3.0% for the professional group, 2.9% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.9% for the technical group, and 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group and 3.1% for the sales group. Nationally, pay increases for 2018 are projected to be 3.2% to 3.3%.

Sixty-five percent of the participating companies report that they plan on adding employees in 2020 compared to seventy-two percent reporting planned increases in last year’s survey. No survey respondents indicated they had any plans of reducing their workforce in 2020.

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FIRST Robotics Will Hold a Regional Competition at Rockland Community College

Imagine a competition where teams excited, technology-driven high school students compete head to head with robots they have designed, built and programmed themselves. Imagine hundreds of such teams competing in the Hudson Valley over a single weekend for the chance to advance to compete in front of 70,000 people in April at the FIRST Championship in Houston and again in May in Detroit. You don’t have to imagine it – it is real and will happen March 19 -20, 2020 at the Rockland Community College Athletic Center and you can be a part of it. Click here for event information.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 and is the world’s leading youth serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math. This program inspires students in grades K -12 worldwide while teaching leadership by engaging them in hands-on robotics challenges. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is for grade K-4, FIRST LEGO League is Grades 4- 8, and FIRST Tech Challenge covers grades 7 -12, while the FIRST Robotics Competition is grade 9 -12.

The program is supported by corporations, educational and professional institutions and individuals who provide mentorship time and talent, equipment, and funding. Participation in FIRST is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields. They develop self-confidence in STEM and real-world skills that can lead to careers in STEM related fields and more. High school participants are also eligible to apply for more than $80 million in scholarships to participating colleges and universities.

Working with professional Mentors participants design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students. The competition teams create powerful mentoring relationships between the students and professional mentors, many of which are engineers and other professionals. The event starts with a Kickoff event that unveils a new, exciting, and challenging game. From the Kickoff, teams have limited time to build and program a robot to compete in the game using a kit of parts provided by FIRST and a standard set of rules. This year’s theme focuses on renewable sources of energy and is titled INFINITE RECHARGE.

Perhaps the program has achieved such amazing results because FIRST is known for Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. If you haven’t heard these terms before – “Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.” And at FIRST, Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.” Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

Last year nearly 100,000 high school students on 3,940 FIRST Robotics Competition teams took part in 100 district events, 11 District Championships, and 62 Regional Events (in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Turkey), and the FIRST Championship. Teams are comprised of professional mentors and 10 or more student members in grades 9-12. In addition, each FIRST team has one or more sponsors. Those sponsors include companies, universities, or professional organizations that donate their time, talent, funds, equipment, and much more to the team effort.

FIRST is a volunteer driven organization with more than 255,000 volunteer roles filled in the 2017-18 season. There are several FIRST programs in the Hudson Valley and opportunities for anyone reading this to become a volunteer. Many of the technical roles may require some experience and training but there are opportunities for safety advisors, field set-up, field re-set and similar tasks that can be a good fit for a first-time technical volunteer. Interested volunteers can visit the FIRST Inspires website at http://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer for more information about how to become a mentor, coach, or event volunteer.

Your company can also support the Regional Competition by participating in the College and Career Fair planned for the first day of the competition, March 19, 2020.  Your participation will highlight the many career options open to these highly motivated students in manufacturing.

For more information visit the FIRST Inspire website https://www.firstinspires.org/

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Presentations from the Lower Hudson Valley Adv. Mfg & Energy Bus Tour for Educators

Below are links to PDF versions of the presentations from the Lower Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Bus Tour for Educators

Westchester Community College Presentation

Safe Flight Business Presentation

Safe Flight Engineering Presentation

Magnetic Analysis Corp Presentation

Con Edison Entry Level Opportunities School Presentation

Southern Westchester BOCES Presentation

PDFs of the handouts from the event

Employment Guide for Advanced Manufacturing in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

Advanced Manufacturing in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

Energy & Utility Employment in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley

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Meet Vince – Apprentice at Usheco, Inc.

Vince and Alethea Shuman at Usheco, Inc. 

Meet Vince – a Plastics Injection Molder Apprentice at Usheco, and the first apprentice in the Council of Industry’s Apprentice Program to be registered under this trade. He has many roles including Injection Molder, Operator (CNC & Thermoforming) and Technician. Vince has years of experience in the manufacturing industry and has worked at Usheco for a little over a year running his own department consisting of 6 injection molding machines that he operates daily. Usheco is a manufacturer of custom molded plastic parts. Through the process of injection molding, thermoforming, line bending and CNC routing, Usheco provides a wide variety of parts to customers in various industries including medical, aeronautic and gaming.

Vince was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and jumped directly into the workforce after graduating from Kingston High School. Growing up in a hands-on family that fixed things themselves, Vince told us that he’s always been mechanically inclined. Recognizing that aptitude early on allowed him to take some auto-mechanic courses through the local BOCES program while still in High School. The class taught Vince how to rebuild alternators, do small engine repairs and even install breaks. This valuable experience helped him secure his first job in manufacturing after graduation.

He started out in an entry level position as a Stacker for a local manufacturer. He used this opportunity to get his foot in the door and wisely spent his time cross training in different departments whenever possible. He quickly transitioned from stacking products onto pallets into a Roll Tender position and eventually into the Second Pressman role. This experience kick started his career and he’s remained in the manufacturing industry ever since.  

After years of experience working in every role from Stacker, to Head of Operations and everything in between, Vince has seen many different aspects of manufacturing. He describes himself as an, “experienced assembly technician and manufacturing production operator with skills in quality assurance, soldering, machine operation, excursion and injection molding processes and setup.” However, Vince told us that Usheco has given him the opportunity to learn new skillsets and he loves the challenge. He spent a few months training with an experienced supervisor who helped him catch onto the trade quickly. Since then, he told us that the apprentice program has been instrumental in continuing to improve and expand his knowledge further.

Vince told us he excitedly joined the Council of Industry’s Apprentice Program earlier this year because, “it gives me the opportunity to learn new things at a pace that works for me.” Apprentices are required to complete a combination of both on-the-job (OTJ) training and related instruction (RI) courses. OTJ is automatically earned every day while Vince is at work and learning new skills of the trade, and he takes RI courses through his free subscription to Tooling-U, an online learning platform designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.

“We are happy to have Vince working as a NYS registered apprentice and even more excited that he is on the Injection Molder Apprenticeship track, which was introduced at the request of Usheco for Vince’s position here!” Said Alethea Shuman, VP of Sales and Engineering at Usheco. “Vince joined the team just over a year ago with a background in manufacturing and has taken on the challenge of learning a new manufacturing process, industry and machinery with a positive perspective that is contagious!  It is rare to see Vince without a smile on his face and we are proud to have him as an integral part of our team.”

So far Vince has found the Tooling-U courses to be an important aspect of the program that has allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of the trade. “I’ve been able to apply the knowledge I’ve gained from Tooling-U courses in my day-to-day work, and it helps me complete my tasks more efficiently” said Vince. He’s also taking advantage of the SUNY Apprenticeship Grant, which allows registered apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade-related classes for free. Next month Vince is registered for a Blueprint Reading course at SUNY Ulster where he will learn how to identify essential details and interpret the dimensions and tolerances on blueprints.

Vince is fully committed to the program and the opportunity to gain more knowledge an experience. “This apprenticeship makes me a more valuable employee at Usheco by continuing to teach me new skills,” said Vince. “It’s an all-around great program to be a part of.”

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Meet Barbara Reer – Director of Professional Technology Programs at SUNY Ulster

 

Meet Barbara Reer, the Director of Professional Technology Programs in SUNY Ulster’s Continuing and Professional Education Department. Reer has been instrumental in leading SUNY Ulster’s Advanced Manufacturing Program, which helps educate students at all levels about the many opportunities for success available in the manufacturing industry. They offer a wide range of courses taken by apprentices, pre-apprentices, current employees in the industry looking to update or gain new skills, and even interested individuals who have no previous experience in manufacturing.

Reer’s role also goes beyond Advanced Manufacturing to include the Building Science, Web Development and Clean Tech programs. She writes grants, programs courses, seeks funding and works directly with students to build career pathways by assessing their performance in the programs and helping them find job leads. Reer herself has an Engineering degree and was part of the first graduating class with women in engineering at Western New England University. She later went on to work in manufacturing, gaining firsthand experience that she uses to help her students today.

“What I enjoy the most about this job is working with the students and helping them face their challenges.” Said Reer. “Sometimes we get students who tried college a long time ago and it didn’t work out for them, but now they’re coming back and discovering that with the right career pathway they can succeed.” SUNY Ulster offers both credit and non-credit courses to help meet the needs of all their students. Credit bearing courses help students work towards a degree or micro-credential. Non-credit courses provide no physical certification but help build knowledge and improve skills.

Reer told us that its often rewarding to see students transition from one program to the other. She’s seeing a spike in the amount of young people interested in manufacturing and recently helped a student working towards his Associate’s degree in Sound Engineering transition into the Manufacturing Certificate Program. His decision to switch was largely motivated by the steady, well-paying career opportunities available for CNC Machinists. He’ll compete his degree by taking manufacturing related courses as electives and start the Manufacturing Certificate Program the following semester.

Reer also works with local employers and educates them about the opportunities available to train their current workforce. She provides them with information about courses and even helps secure funding when necessary. To help with the cost SUNY Ulster applied for and received the SUNY Apprenticeship Grant, which gives registered apprentices the opportunity to take up to $5,000 worth of trade-related courses for free. They also received funding for the Pre-Apprentice Program, which will pay for $500 worth of courses for students in entry level positions who aren’t yet at the apprentice level.

The biggest hesitation and challenge that Reer sees employers and students facing is finding the time to take advantage of these training opportunities. Attending classes after work can lead to very long days that some students either can’t or don’t want to commit to, and employers often prefer that they don’t take classes during work hours. This is an obstacle that they’re still working on solving, but Reer told us that in an effort to help she actively goes out into the community and establishes relationships with manufacturers to work on developing programs that better fit their needs.

However, Reer told us that when students and employers are committed to the process there is a tremendous opportunity for growth. She shared with us that about 6 years ago SUNY Ulster had a Guaranteed Jobs Program to help build a pool of qualified and skilled workers for manufacturers in the area. They had a student who enrolled in the program and went on to work for Fair-Rite Products as a Welder. He recently returned to SUNY Ulster looking to upgrade his skills and learn more about CNC machining. “It’s so good to see that 6 years ago he took an entry level course with us and now he’s coming back for additional training so he can move up the career ladder at his company.” Said Reer.

As for the future of workforce training, Reer told us that SUNY Ulster is partnering with The Arc in an attempt to duplicate a program being offered in California that helps train students with intellectual and developmental disabilities for manufacturing jobs. This is all part of SUNY Ulster’s plan to reach deeper into the community and build the manufacturing workforce needed in the Hudson Valley. The college is also embracing applied learning initiatives and shifting towards a more hands-on approach to teaching.

If you’re interested in learning more about SUNY Ulster’s Advanced Manufacturing Programs you can contact Barbara Reer at reerb@sunyulster.edu or (845) 802-7171. There are still seats available for an upcoming CNC Programming course starting mid-October and a Blueprint Reading course coming up in November. Please reach out for more information about course descriptions, times and locations.

 

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The Council of Industry offers a variety of resources to help strengthen the Hudson Valley’s manufacturing workforce.

A NYS Registered Apprentice Program helps manufacturers build their workforce from within. The program has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Currently available trades include: CNC Machinist, Electro-Mechanical Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Auditor, Toolmaker and Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT). 

The Council of Industry also offers a Collaborative Recruiting Initiative to help members attract the qualified candidates they need to fill their job openings. Participating companies post their job opportunities on our manufacturing-specific job board: HVMfgJobs.com to attract individuals with the skills and aptitude needed to succeed.

For more information about these resources please contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or (845) 565-1355.

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Episode 2: Pine Bush High School, Integrating Education and Career Readiness at the Highest Level

 

The Council of Industry recently launched a podcast! In this episode Harold King from the Council of Industry interviews Aaron Hopmayer, Principal of Pine Bush High School.

Episode 2:Pine Bush High School, Integrating Education and Career Readiness at the Highest Level

Aaron Hopmayer, affectionately known as “HOP” talked about Pine Bush High School’s success in integrating STEAM into all disciplines and the booming enrollment in their summer enrichment academies (including their newest summer academy for Advanced Manufacturing).

You can learn more about Pine Bush’s Summer Enrichment Academies here:
STEM Academy
Advanced Manufacturing Academy

Hop shares his experience overcoming obstacles, building engagement and generally doing whatever it takes because “its good for kids”. Pine Bush High School will also be hosting an Advanced Manufacturing and STEAM Careers Night on October 2nd from 5pm – 8:30pm designed for students with interests ranging from entry level positions to Engineers. All are welcome for an opportunity to meet with local manufacturers, colleges and trade schools. There will also be a chance to tour Pine Bush High School’s Innovation Center and Fabrication Labs.

For more information on Pine Bush High School’s 2019 Manufacturing Day contact Aaron Hopmayer at: (845) 744-2031 ext. 3601

Aaron Hopmayer was also featured as the Leadership Profile in the Spring 2018 issue of HV Mfg Magazine

For more Council of Industry podcasts follow our SoundCloud station here.

You can also listen to Episode 1: MPI, At the intersection of manufacturing, innovation and family business here. In this episode Harold King and Johnnieanne Hansen from the Council of Industry interview Bruce and Aaron Phipps of Poughkeepsie based manufacturing company, MPI. Bruce and Aaron Phipps talk about what its like to grow up in a family owned business and now work together as contemporaries tackling the challenges and celebrating the successes with their MPI family.

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Meet Sonja Brown – Regional Director at the Workforce Development Institute (WDI)

Sonja Brown and Harold King at the 2019 Manufacturing Champions Award Breakfast 

Sonja Brown is the Regional Director at the Workforce Development Institute (WDI) in the lower Hudson Valley: Westchester and Putnam county. She works directly with employers in the area by “listening to their challenges and finding innovative solutions to help the business get through their struggles.” Whether it’s a non-profit, union, business, government or education provider, Sonja does her part to help them all.

WDI is a statewide non-profit organization with a range of tools – including ground level information, workforce expertise, and funding – to facilitate projects that build skills and strengthen employers’ ability to hire and promote workers. This often fills gaps not covered by other organizations and is accomplished through partnerships and collaborations.

Sonja has always had a passion for helping others. Before becoming a Regional Director at WDI she owned her own business, which used State and Federal funds to help students and their families in Westchester get through difficult times. Sonja recognized that there are many barriers to learning that school districts can’t solve on their own. They need additional support to provide students with the education they deserve. She worked with families who were struggling to the pay rent, feed their children or find stable jobs and helped give them the resources, services and support they needed for their children to succeed at school.

Sonja told us that the experience she gained helping these families prepared her for her job today at WDI. “You see the challenge, you find the solution and you form good networks and partnerships to provide the best support for the problem.” Throughout her time at WDI Sonja has worked with several members of the Council of Industry to help solve their workforce challenges. She told us that most manufacturers come to WDI needing assistance with training employees and updating equipment.

After years of use equipment gets worn down or outdated causing companies to lose their competitive edge, and updating old equipment or purchasing new state of the art machines can be a costly endeavor. Sonja has helped a handful of manufacturers get that updated equipment without messing up their budget, and in some cases the company is even able to bring on more employees as a result. “It’s a win for everyone.” Said Sonja. “WDI wins, the employers win, the employees win and even the individuals looking to get hired win.”

WDI also offers training for current employees and for individuals who are looking to enter the industry. As the manufacturing workforce continues to change and the need for skilled employees grows, Sonja has provided manufacturers with the financial help needed to develop their workforce. Mandated certifications can popup at difficult times but WDI is available to help. Sonja also told us that in the case that WDI’s funding is insufficient for the employers needs she does the necessary research to find additional funding mechanisms to cover the remaining cost.

Sonja shared with us that the application process is so simple even she struggled to believe it when she first started. The entire application is under 6 pages long and it’s all about your company, what you need the money for and your projections on how it will impact the business. A Regional Director, like Sonja, works along side you to fill out the application and in under a week you will know if you’ve been approved. “We know that these employers don’t need help tomorrow, they need help today,” said Sonja, which is why WDI has worked hard to simplify the entire process.

Sonja’s hard work and dedication has been a huge help to the Council of Industry and many of its members. Earlier this year the Council of Industry recognized WDI by awarding them with the Supporting Organization Award at the 2019 Manufacturing Champion Awards Breakfast. WDI was selected because of the significant role that Sonja and Mary Jane Bertram, Regional Director of the Upper Hudson Valley, have played in helping our members address their workforce opportunities and challenges.

If you’re interested in speaking with Sonja about how she can help you, you can contact her at sbrown@wdiny.org. If you’re located in Sullivan, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia or Rockland county you can reach Mary Jane at mjbertram@wdiny.org for more information. To learn more about Mary Jane you can read her spotlight article here.

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Check Out the New CI Podcast and Meet Manufacturers, Educators and Influencers from around the Hudson Valley

 

In an effort to expand our reach and spread the word about manufacturing in the region, The Council of Industry is launching a podcast. We’ve been working behind the scenes to bring our members and the community an inside look into the people of Hudson Valley manufacturing.

The podcast space has grown expansively in the US with over 40% increase in awareness since 2017. According to Edison Research, 62 million Americans have listened to podcasts in the past week.

Our mission is to support our members and promote their success.  One important way we do that is to help people get to know all about manufacturing in the Hudson Valley; the companies, the products, the technologies, and the people – as well as its economic importance to the region.  As technology evolves, opportunities to communicate that message change. In the 1930s, we introduced the CI newsletter, followed by www.councilofindustry.org in 1991, and the introduction of HV MFG, The Council of Industry’s Magazine, in 2013. Over the last few years, we added a K-12 outreach resource www.gomakeit.org, expanded our YouTube Channel and formed a 501(c)3, (Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center); simultaneously weaving our message with the purpose of increasing awareness and promoting the success of our members.

The staff at CI already get to talk to fascinating, impactful people daily – now we can share those stories. Adding the podcast medium will help us broaden our reach and help us share insights, best practices and hopefully some laughs, with a wider audience.  Perhaps the podcast will help bring the already supportive manufacturing community even closer together.

Here’s a Taste of What’s to Come:

Episode 1Bruce and Aaron Phipps, MPI
Aaron and Bruce share details about what it is like to grow up in a family-owned business and now work together as contemporaries tackling the challenges and celebrating the successes with their MPI family. Aaron is heavily involved at SUNY New Paltz on their advisory board and mentoring interns. They speak about the importance of engagement at that level, training and building the next generation of workforce. Aaron and Bruce are fun to talk to and we’re thankful they agreed to be our tester podcast.

Listen to Episode 1: MPI, At the intersection of manufacturing, innovation and family business 

Episode 2: Aaron Hopmayer, Principal, Pine Bush High School
Aaron Hopmayer, affectionately known as “HOP” is top-notch. We talked with Aaron and Kenny Marshall about their success in integrating STEAM into all disciplines, the booming enrollment in their summer enrichment academies (including their newest summer academy for Advanced Manufacturing). Hop shares his experience overcoming obstacles, building engagement and generally doing whatever it takes because “its good for kids”.  Big shout out to Kenny Marshall, STEAM Coach for helping us work through the podcast flow and his patience for working with Harold and me, amateurs that we are. Kenny is a transformational teacher and coach; he was also one of our 2018 Manufacturing Champions. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Kenny in our podcast world.

Episode 3: Julian Stauffer, PTI
We truly enjoyed talking with Julian. He talked about his family history and the changes in leadership over the last several decades. He shared some insight about the importance of an adaptable, diverse workplace and what’s ahead for this growing company in Westchester. Julian and his brother Oliver are gracious hosts and the epitome of leadership in advanced manufacturing. We barely scratched the surface in this podcast, I look forward to chatting with Julian, and Oliver again in the near future.

Episode 4: Joe & Jimmy Ferrara and Stephanie Melick, ELNA Magnetics
Not only were we able to chat with Joe, Jimmy and Steph in episode 4, they are also going to be featured in our upcoming edition of HV Mfg. Magazine. We laughed a little too much while preparing for this podcast and then worked out our jitters together. We talked about the culture at Elna, their efforts to tackle workforce development challenges and the future of the business. This was a fun conversation – hopefully, some of the content actually makes it to the ‘podcast’.

Still to come:

Jenny Clark, Global Foundries
Gretchen Zierick, Zierick’s 100-year anniversary
Meaghan Taylor, Regional Director, Empire State Development

This podcast launches in conjunction with other CI activities including our latest video featuring an Electro-Mechanical Technician Apprentice, Forrest (sponsored by Tompkins Mahopac Bank) and the upcoming edition of the HV Mfg Magazine due out in October.

We are always looking for great content; if you are interested in joining us for a podcast episode or know someone who is particularly interesting, please reach out to jhansen@councilofindustry.org.

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Manual Tools to High Tech CNC Machines: The Future of Manufacturing

For decades, the Hudson Valley has been the center of manufacturing innovation from small family owned companies to large corporations. With increasing demand and pressure from global competitors, companies big and small are looking for ways to create high quality products in the most efficient ways possible.

In order to understand how rapid, the technological growth has been, HV MFG sat down with Allendale Machinery Systems to discuss the advancements within the manufacturing sector. The McGill Family is comprised of three generations Tom, Marty, and Neil who helped build the company to the success story it is today. Tom was stationed in Japan after WWII as part of the rebuilding process.

After his service, Tom decided to pursue a degree in International Relations at Georgetown University. However, he quickly realized foreign service was not what he wanted to do. Thanks to a few connections in Japan, Tom was able to get a job selling Japanese manufacturing equipment in the US. Tom explains that during the time, many manufacturing companies were not fond of buying foreign made machines. However, the low price and high quality compared to similar American made machines, won over customers. With his success, Tom decided to start his own company in 1981, which is when Allendale Machinery Systems came to life.

During this time, Tom had met Gene Haas who was building machine tools. Tom had advised Gene on the importance of focusing on quality and features, something he learned while working for the Japanese company. Eventually, Allendale Machinery Systems began selling Haas equipment exclusively. The business began to grow within the family as Marty joined the company in 1987 after realizing college was not for him.

Today, Marty serves as Vice President and is responsible for selling Haas machines to various locations. In addition to that, Marty also informs his customers on the capabilities of the new machining equipment on the market today. This allows his customers to decide if they want to purchase a new machine entirely or upgrade an existing one. Lately, Marty and his team have been working with the Council of Industry to provide more educational resources to machinists and encourage young professionals to join the trade.

Providing workforce training has been a critical goal of both Allendale Machinery and Council of Industry. Neil, the third member of the family-owned business and Director of Operations at the company, explained the successful business growth to HV MFG. Neil began working at Allendale Machinery in 2006, after graduating from college. He started making inside sales and learning his customer base; finding out their needs and challenges. Neil took the information he gathered over time and implemented a business strategy focused at delivering customers requests. Those efforts have paid off as Allendale now employs 45 employees working at their headquarters and satellite offices. Allendale Machinery has developed such a successful reputation, that their client base now exceeds 800 active customers.

Allendale Machinery has proved that a successful business is dependent on delivering and exceeding the expectations of your clients. Additionally, Allendale knows that the future of the industry is dependent on educating the next generation about manufacturing and the knowledge needed to run these high-tech machining tools.

 

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Tompkins Mahopac Bank Creates Scholarship to Support Students Passionate About Manufacturing

From left to right: Diana L. Pollard (executive director of the Dutchess Community College Foundation), Olti Begaj (scholarship recipient) and Amy Greiner (vice president, commercial lending at Tompkins Mahopac Bank)

Deeply rooted in manufacturing and innovation, the Hudson Valley has seen significant advancement in this industry over the years, including local companies developing crucial smart phone technology and other cutting-edge digital assets. With so much growth and development, Tompkins Mahopac Bank realizes the importance of training, attracting and retaining top talent to fill the growing need for manufacturing jobs and to incentivize people to build lives in the Hudson Valley. To paraphrase the famous Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come.” If the talent is here, the businesses who depend on this talent are more likely to stay and grow. The more businesses that stay, the stronger the county is as a whole.

To help address the critical need for workforce development in the communities it serves, Tompkins created the Make and Accelerate Scholarship to support Hudson Valley students who demonstrate exceptional talent, drive and a love for manufacturing. The scholarship, in its second year, is now awarded by the Dutchess Community College and Westchester Community College foundations to outstanding students in their technical programs and covers $1,000 of tuition fees. This year’s Dutchess Community College (DCC) recipient, Olti Begaj, is an aspiring electrical technician who is on track to graduate with his associate’s degree in May 2020.

“The [Make and Accelerate] Scholarship has paid for my tuition expense, allowing me to focus on my academic pursuits,” said Begaj. “Without [Tompkins Mahopac Bank’s] donation, I wouldn’t be able to achieve the grades necessary to fulfill my professional ambition of becoming an electrical technician.”

At the beginning of this initiative, Tompkins partnered with the Council of Industry on a workforce development initiative called “Go Make It,” a program that encourages people to pursue manufacturing careers in the Hudson Valley. Through the Go Make It video series, Tompkins helps tell the story of young people starting out in their careers. Additionally, the bank partnered with the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum and generously invested $20,000 in its plans to expand the Poughkeepsie campus to encourage children to explore STEM careers and the manufacturing space.

As a community bank, part of Tompkins’ purpose is to help communities thrive and grow. One way it accomplishes this, is by leveraging its influence and resources to safeguard customers and create stability for the future. The Hudson Valley is a thriving community to live and work in, and Tompkins has stepped up to ensure that young people see the area’s potential and opportunities for long-term careers. With a goal of igniting and inspiring young people to pursue careers in manufacturing, Tompkins Mahopac Bank’s investment in education and experiential learning is building the pipeline of innovative talent for many years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about Tompkins Mahopac Bank or find out how you can be involved visit www.mahopacbank.com. 

About Tompkins Mahopac Bank:

Tompkins Mahopac Bank, part of Tompkins Financial Corporation, has personalized service, local decision-making and a broad range of services for consumers and businesses. Wealth management services are provided through the offices of Tompkins Financial Advisors. Whether you prefer branch or remote mobile banking, we provide the breadth of services and local decision-making to make what’s possible a reality. Locally Focused. A World of Possibilities. More information is available at www.mahopacbank.com.

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Cambridge Security Seals Get Recognized for an Innovative Design

Cambridge Security Seals is a national leader in specialized seals used for loss prevention and tamper equipment. Located in Pomona New York, this company has built a reputation for product quality and nearly endless options for product customizations; helping match client needs.

Recently, Cambridge Security Seals received a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a state-of-the-art tote seal design. While that may not sound exciting at first, this new design allows clients to secure their products while allowing shoppers a user-friendly experience. Little changes in the ergonomics of security/tamper seals can make all the difference when shoppers are looking at a product to purchase. In today’s competitive market, everything counts including tamper equipment that most people overlook but have had a great deal of engineering research go into them.

HV MFG sat down with Elisha Tropper, CEO of Cambridge Security Seals to discuss how his company became one of the fastest growing organizations in the region. Elisha came from a family of entrepreneurs that ran a local business in New York City during the 1940’s. After attending college at Yeshiva University, Elisha began working in the family run business within different departments including operations, sales, marketing, and product management. While he enjoyed the knowledge, he gained about running a company, Elisha knew he wanted to start his own path. He enrolled in classes at Columbia University and received an MBA.

With his family’s support, Elisha took over Prestige Label Company, which made pressure sensitive labels. From there, he gained the experience of taking a run-down business and building it back up to a competitive business model. Eventually, Prestige was sold to one of its customers who was better suited to run the organization.

That’s when Cambridge Security Seals came into the picture. After purchasing their current facility in 2011, Elisha embarked on a journey to revolutionize a business just as he did with Prestige. Knowing how crucial tamper evident labels are to the commerce sector, Elisha went full steam ahead with his ambitious business plan. His hard efforts paid off as today, Cambridge Security Seals runs 10 fully-automated production lines on an impressive 24/7 schedule.

Now Cambridge Security Seals is looking to install their generation 3 production lines which will help fulfill demand orders at a more efficient rate. Looking into the Future, Elisha is looking to acquire new customers and constantly improve their product line to keep up with the demands of their clients. Cambridge Security Seals is a proven example of how ambitious plans and a determined attitude are key factors to building a successful company.

 

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Apprenticeship Obstacles – Build your own workforce

Struggling to find the skilled workforce you need to fill your open positions? The Council of Industry launched a New York State Department of Labor Sponsored Apprentice Program in 2017. Since then we have registered over 50 apprentices from more than 15 companies. There are dozens of reasons to consider joining the program including the opportunity to upscale current employees, attract new talents and offer a New York State credential. Other incentives include free online learning from Tooling-U, $2,000 of New York State Tax Credits per apprentice, the opportunity to take classes at local community colleges for free and the support of Council of Industry staff.

There are currently six registered trades in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program:  Machinist (CNC)Electro-Mechanical TechnicianMaintenance MechanicQuality Assurance AuditorToolmaker and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. It typically takes two to four years to complete the program. If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

However there are a few obstacles whether they are real or perceived. In this mini-podcast Harold King and Johnnieanne Hansen discuss the obstacles of hiring experienced candidates versus building your workforce internally.

 

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Meet Stephen Casa – Workplace Learning Coordinator at Ulster BOCES

 

Stephen Casa has been the Workplace Learning Coordinator at Ulster BOCES since early 2018. Ulster BOCES operates as an extension of local school districts that provides shared programs and educational services, serving eight public schools throughout the county. Casa plays an interesting role acting as the lead connector between BOCES programs and the business community. At the moment he’s playing an important part in building relationships for the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy and the Career and Technical Education Center specifically.   

Casa attended Saint John’s University to study Management and Finance, and later got his master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology. After college he started his career in education as a math teacher to middle school students in Brooklyn. His goal at the time was to eventually teach business courses at the high school level. His career took a turn when he decided to take a leap of faith and walk into the high school a week before school was starting to inquire about any openings. He went into the building a middle school math teacher and walked out with a full-time position at James Madison High School in a program called the Academy of Finance.

Casa’s role in the Academy of Finance set his career on the path that it is today. The Academy of Finance is a member of the National Academy Foundation (NAF). It’s a progressive model that combines schoolwork with experiential learning. The academy’s connections with the business community helped students secure paid summer internships and gain real-world experience. Casa told us that this was his first exposure to “education as it should be.”

As the Workplace Learning Coordinator for Ulster BOCES, Casa also works closely with the Council of Industry. The Council of Industry is the lead Industry Partner for the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy, and Casa works directly with many members to help setup workplace learning challenges.  These challenges are immersive projects given to the students at Hudson Valley Pathways Academy by local businesses. Casa also helps coordinate internship opportunities for students through his connections with the business community. “The Council of Industry has been incredibly helpful in identifying businesses that see the benefit of engaging with Ulster BOCES and the students” said Casa.

Casa is passionate about what he does and told us that making connections and watching those connections make a real impact are the best parts of his job. He believes giving students real-world experience as early as possible plays a big role in preparing them for their future. Casa told us that if he could offer some advice to young adults it would be to, “take any opportunity you can get to work with the business community, whether it’s a job shadow or an internship. Those learning experiences are what open your eyes to what’s possible.”   

Hudson Valley Pathways Academy has seen tremendous success since its beginning just a few years ago. The P-TECH school offers a six-year pathway of study, which results in students earning an associate’s degree and puts them first in line for available positions with industry partners. The Career and Technical Education Center also prepares students for the future by offering dozens of high-tech training programs that lead to in-demand jobs. With both programs experiencing such success, we asked Casa what his biggest challenges have been along the way. He told us that getting education providers and business partners to fully recognize the benefits of working together has been a struggle, but when you finally get them at the same table and allow them to see the win-wins it can make significant change.

The future of education is bright, and the programs offered at Ulster BOCES are a shining example of what’s to come. Experiential learning will likely play a much larger role in education in the future. Today many students don’t get real-world experience until after high school or during college. However, we’re already beginning to see the shift with Ulster BOCES. Casa emphasized the importance of teaching young adults how to be adaptable and believes that the work they’re doing at Ulster BOCES is setting these students up with the skills they need to be successful.

If you’d like to learn more about Ulster BOCES or find out how you can be involved visit www.ultserboces.org.  

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What Employers Need to Know as Pay Equity Protections Widen

There have been changes on both the federal and state level to compensation law. Read more about it in these two articles from IMA Update and Littler Mendelson P.C.

Minding the Pay Gap: What Employers Need to Know as Pay Equity Protections Widen

The pay gap – or paying women and other historically marginalized groups less for the same or substantially similar work – has increasingly been in the media spotlight. Politicians have also taken note. While there have been pay discrimination laws on the books at the federal level and in most states for decades, over the past several years, state and local governments and Puerto Rico have passed numerous new laws all aimed at closing the pay gap. Since 2016, more than 200 bills addressing pay equity were introduced in nearly every state. At the time of publication, 13 states have enacted “second wave” pay equity laws; 24 states and municipalities – along with Puerto Rico – have enacted salary history inquiry bans; and 19 states have enacted wage transparency provisions. In addition, employers with 100 or more employees that are subject to Title VII and certain government contractors are now required to report compensation data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) annually.

While the federal Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying employees less for equal work because of gender, these second wave pay equity laws revise this standard – prohibiting unequal pay for “comparable” work as opposed to “equal” work. The newly enacted salary history inquiry bans restrict employers’ ability to inquire into the salary history of applicants. Finally, wage transparency measures prohibit employers from banning pay disclosure in the workplace or from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages. Employers must comply with federal law and this growing patchwork of state and local laws.

The plaintiffs’ bar also has gotten in on the action. Since 2016, over 250 pay equity cases have been filed in the United States. High profile pay equity cases are in the news frequently – the proposed class and collective action filed in California federal court by all 28 members of the U.S. Women’s soccer team is just one example. Law firms and technology companies also have been targets. Indeed, to a large extent, the cases target professional services organizations and professional positions: lawyers, engineers, professors, scientists, managers and doctors. In addition to an equal pay claim, these lawsuits frequently include claims of discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination. These lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts across the nation as both single plaintiff cases and class or collective actions.

This white paper provides a discussion of the nuts and bolts of the various existing pay equity laws, including:

  • the elements a plaintiff must establish to prove a claim;
  • the defenses available to employers;
  • the damages available; and
  • the procedural mechanisms that allow for these cases to be brought as class or collective actions – increasing the exposure for employers.

New York Expands Pay Equity Law Beyond Equal Work and Gender and Bans Inquiries into Salary History

On July 10, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation significantly expanding the protections of New York’s Pay Equity Law, which previously required equal pay for women and men performing “equal work.” The governor also signed a law imposing a ban on inquiries into an applicant’s salary history.

New Pay Equity Law

The new pay equity law now mandates equal pay among employees who perform “substantially similar” work, when considering skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. This means that employers cannot rely on comparisons among those who share the same title to ensure pay equity.  The analysis must encompass the wage rates among employees who hold different, though “substantially similar,” roles.  Employers should look at groupings or classes of jobs, rather than individual positions.

The law also now requires equal pay among all protected groups—not just between members of the opposite sex. Protected status includes age, race, creed, color, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, or other status protected by law.2

Employers can still pay employees working in the same position differently based on their different geographic location, e.g., employees working in New York City might earn more than employees working in Buffalo.  However, employers cannot create geographic classes representing areas smaller than counties.

The new law retains the following prior permissible factors for wage differentials: differences based on (i) a seniority system, (ii) a merit system, (iii) “a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production,” or (iv) “a bona fide factor” other than the protected status, such as education, training, or experience.  The employer has to be able to show, however, that the “bona fide factor” is job-related, satisfies a specific business purpose, and is consistent with business necessity. In addition, the employer may not rely on any of these factors if a pay practice disparately impacts any of the protected classes and the employer has refused to adopt an alternative that would not produce a differential.

The new law takes effect on October 8, 2019.

Salary History Ban

The new salary history law prohibits employers from asking applicants or current employees for their wage or salary history as a condition of consideration for employment or promotion, and from asking other employers for that information. Employers also cannot refuse to consider, employ or promote an applicant or current employee based on their salary history or their refusal to provide their salary history. While New York State law is similar to New York City’s salary history ban, New York City law only covers applicants, not current employees.

The law also forbids employers from relying on salary history in setting an applicant’s pay rate, but does not prohibit individuals from voluntarily disclosing such history, including for the purpose of negotiating their wages.  The law allows an employer to verify an individual’s history if the applicant rejects an existing offer of compensation while citing to his or her prior salary.

The salary history ban takes effect on January 6, 2020.

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Meet Thomas: CNC Apprentice at Usheco

 

Thomas has been working in manufacturing since he was only 14, and his love of working with his hands led him to Usheco just about 6 months ago. He currently works as a Production Operator and splits his time between the Thermoforming and CNC Departments. Usheco is a manufacturer of custom molded plastic parts. They utilize injection molding, thermoforming, line bending and CNC routing to provide a wide variety of quality parts for their customers. Thomas helps mold these parts in the Thermoforming Department and then later assists with routing the pieces to different specs using the CNC machines.

Thomas was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, and continues to enjoy living and working in Saugerties, NY. Growing up he attended Saugerties High School where he had the opportunity to take courses at Ulster BOCES, as well as some in-school vocational classes such as electrical, welding and technology. Instead Thomas opted to get some real-world experience in an area that interested him. He began working a part-time job in marble and granite counter-top fabrication while he was still in high school. He started out as a general laborer, but after graduation he began working full-time which eventually led to him becoming Head Fabricator.

When it was time for a change Thomas started looking for opportunities that would allow him to continue working with his hands. His background gave him a solid foundation to continue learning and growing in his new position at Usheco. He told us that he’s enjoyed working with the CNC department the most because it’s given him experience with new machinery such as lathes and mills, as well as computer programming, which are skills that he didn’t previously have.

Since Thomas works in various departments, he has the privilege of seeing products go through the entire process from start to finish. This is an aspect of the job that he enjoys and finds rewarding. As an example Thomas shared that Usheco makes products for a local company that supplies emergency safety personnel with CPR and rescue manikins. Thomas plays a role in molding the different parts that go into these manikins and then later assists with finishing and customization in the CNC department.

He found out about the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program when Usheco opened up the opportunity to current employees. Thomas is now officially registered as a CNC apprentice. Although he currently works in both the Thermoforming and CNC Departments, his hope is to eventually work only with the CNC machines and believes that the skills and training he’ll gain from the apprentice program will give him the experience needed to make that possible.

Apprentices learn about their trade through a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction. The opportunity to gain knowledge through related instruction was what initially made Thomas want to join the program. He told us, “It sounded really interesting to have the chance to enroll in some college courses and take it one step further than just in-house training.” Apprentices have the ability to complete their related instruction hours online or through local community colleges. SUNY Ulster for example has taken advantage of the SUNY Apprenticeship Grant which allows apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade related classes for free.

Alethea Shuman, VP of Sales and Engineering at Usheco told us, “We decided to join the apprenticeship program in order to provide our team with a more structured training program and more specified training.  Our hope is to increase our team’s cumulative knowledge in order to develop improved processes and advance our manufacturing capabilities to stay competitive in the near and long-term future.” Fairly new to the program, Usheco already has 3 apprentices registered under the CNC and Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) trades. “We are proud to have Tommy enrolled in the CNC Machinist Apprenticeship Program.” Said Shuman. “Tommy embraces the challenge of learning new skill sets and we look forward to supporting and watching him expand his knowledge and expertise while applying his new skills here at Usheco.”

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Best Practices for Creating a Job Description that Stands Out

 

With low unemployment rates in the United States, employers need to find innovative ways to win over candidates. This starts with job descriptions as they are often the first thing candidates will come across when interacting with your organization. Just how employers look for a candidate who sticks out from others, applicants look for the same when researching companies. Luckily, with some best practices; job descriptions can help you target the perfect candidate.

Don’t Underestimate the Job Title
Job titles are pretty self-explanatory and often times, not much thought is put into them. However, if numerous companies in a given area use the same generic title; it will do little to make your organization stand out. Instead, take a moment to think of a way for your job title to differentiate from others. For example, changing Machinist to CNC Operator I. Small changes like these, will catch the eye of a candidate looking in that field. In addition, key words like CNC Operator will help career platforms such as Indeed to put your posting closer to the top of the open jobs list.

Relate the Job Description to your Company Culture
Job descriptions give a sneak peak to candidates about what they can expect from your company. There should be emphasis placed to make sure there is no disconnect between the company mission statement and what the role entails. For example, if your mission statement highlights taking challenges head-on; consider writing a job description that describes projects employees work on for company/personal growth. Connecting your mission statement with a job posting will tell the candidate that your serious about achieving your goals.

Don’t Overload the Requirements Section
In an effort to deter unqualified candidates from applying, many hiring managers will create a laundry list of qualifications needed for the position. Unfortunately, this can backfire by deterring candidates who have the drive/ambition but lack extensive work experience like college graduates. Instead, try creating a separate list for minimum and preferred qualifications. This will help hiring managers go through an applicant pool that has the necessary skills but also is not too restrictive.

Short and Simple
In the age of smartphones and social media, many candidates are ditching a traditional desktop and instead using their phones to apply for jobs. If you ever viewed a poorly designed webpage on a mobile browser; you’ll notice all the text crammed into a small space making it confusing to read. Avoid the same result by creating short paragraphs and utilizing bullet points to get the message across.

Research the Competition
Having difficulty creating an interesting job description? Google can quickly become your greatest asset; simply search for the same job title and compare other companies job postings with yours. This is a great way to determine if your post stands out from the rest and to learn what benefits/compensation are other organizations offering. Salary and perks like vacation time/health insurance are key things that today’s candidates are looking for.

While creating job descriptions can be tedious, spending the extra time to ensure your posting is unique can help you reduce the amount of time the position is up for and attract qualified candidates. Best practices like these, demonstrate how today’s workforce is evolving and employers need to align their business models to benefit from that.

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What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

 

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

 

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

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Building a More Inclusive Workspace

In today’s competitive job market, companies are looking for ways to diversify their employee portfolios and bring in the best talents. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who have not been given the opportunity to utilize their unique skills. One non-profit organization in Michigan is looking to change that. Autism Alliance of Michigan strives to help individuals who are on the autism spectrum find quality jobs that allow them to use the skills they’ve gained through college.

In 2016, Autism Alliance of Michigan teamed up with Ford Motor Co. to employ over a dozen individuals in different fields including communications, engineering, and financing. Other employers across the country including General Motors and DTE Energy Co. have hired dozens of employees with autism. The CEO of Autism Alliance of Michigan emphasized that “there’s this untapped talent pool that we should be looking at to fill these jobs.”

Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause communication and behavioral challenges. This can lead to difficulty finding a job even with a college degree. The government does not specifically track unemployment rates within the autism spectrum community. However, according to The Detroit News, studies have shown it can be as high as 90%. Individuals who do get a job, often get put into positions that are not in their field of study.

The Detroit News, interviewed Kevin Roach who graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in electronic arts. This type of major focuses on using digital media software like Adobe Photoshop. However, after graduation Kevin was doing manual labor and felt that his talents were not being utilized. Fast forward two years, and Kevin is now working for Ford Motor Credit Co. LLC asa Junior Technical Renewal Analyst. The Autism Alliance of Michigan as well as other organizations provide support for companies that choose to partner with them. This way, if an employee needs support adjusting to a new work environment or new supervisor; they can be put in contact with a support member. This helps employees feel comfortable and accommodated while also allowing them to use their talents.

As a new generation emerges into the workforce, organizations are giving students with Autism a head start at finding a career they have a passion for. Project Search for example, is an initiative that has connected Detroit public schools’ students with disabilities to a broad range of jobs. This way, students are able to get support even before college. Initiatives like these, prove that there is value and importance to build a diverse employee base. There is a lot of potential that could mutually help companies with their workforce needs and individuals looking for a fulfilling job. Companies can help remove boundaries and contribute to their community by partnering up with university disability resource centers. These efforts can help build a more inclusive workforce.

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What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

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Meet Korey: Apprentice at Kdc/One Kolmar

 

Meet Korey, CNC Apprentice at KDC/One Kolmar in Port Jervis. Kolmar is a contract manufacturer of color cosmetics and personal care products including eye makeup, lipsticks, pressed and loose powders and bath products to list a few. Korey started working at Kolmar in February as a temporary employee cleaning the facility. While working as a temp Korey learned that Kolmar was opening up an apprentice opportunity for current employees and he was quick to apply. By March Korey was enrolled in the program and ready to learn.

Korey currently lives in Port Jervis but grew up in Manhattan, NY. During high school he became interested in the trades and decided to study optics for a few years between high school and college. Studying this trade gave Korey the opportunity to learn something new while getting to work with his hands, two things he told us he loves to do. He later went on to attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice for 2 years in New York City.

When he decided to move up to Port Jervis to be closer to his family, he started out working at Walmart as a stock associate. He spent his time stocking the shelves, assisting customers and helping out wherever possible. Not long after, he took the temp position at Kolmar with the hope that it would grow into something more. Being a CNC Apprentice has given Korey the opportunity to gain hands on experience with lathes, mills, band saws and much more. He now has access to different departments throughout the company and a team of coworkers backing him up and helping him learn.

When we asked Korey what made him want to become a CNC apprentice he told us, “I wanted to be part of the team and to have a purpose. Being in the apprentice program has given me a family at Kolmar and made me feel like I’m part of something.” He works closely with his supervisor and a small group of machinists who have taught him how to read blueprints, make tools and run machines.

Outside of work Korey is also getting related instruction through Tooling-U, an online learning platform specifically for the manufacturing industry. On his own time Korey is taking courses to supplement the experience he’s gaining at work. He told us that after completing each course he sits with his supervisor to review the material and go over any additional questions he might have. This also serves as an opportunity for Korey’s supervisor to relate the material back to his current projects and tasks at Kolmar.

Apprentices in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program are required to complete 144 hours of related instruction each year. Many apprentices take advantage of other opportunities outside of Tooling-U including in-house training and courses at local community colleges to complete their hours. SUNY Ulster has also received the SUNY Apprenticeship grant, which allows registered apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade related classes for free.

Korey told us that he’s excited and proud to work at Kolmar and be a registered apprentice. His hard work and eagerness have been instrumental in helping him move up from a temporary position to a full-time apprentice. If you or someone you know is looking to pursue a career in manufacturing, consider joining the Kolmar team. You can easily apply to all available positions online at www.kdc-one.com/careers. Search for jobs based on department, upload a resume and fill in a simple application form to apply today! You can also view other currently available manufacturing positions throughout the Hudson Valley on the Council of Industry’s job board: www.HVMfgjobs.com. 

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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King’s Hawaiian: Three Woman Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Manufacturing

 

The manufacturing industry has long been dominated by males, however as work demographics begin to change; woman have been increasingly taking on various roles. In the New York town of Oakwood, one company is at the forefront of promoting equality on the production floor. If the name King’s Hawaiian sounds familiar, that’s because they are responsible for making the delicious sweet rolls found in bakery departments of supermarkets across the country.

The Gainesville Times recently interviewed a few women who work at the plant, one of them being Charlotte Caldwell. Caldwell became the first female production supervisor at this location which helps supply the rolls in the surrounding areas. She mentioned how she starts off her work day by walking down the production line and checking-in with employees. Her experience in operations and passion for food made her the perfect person for this role. Caldwell is looking to challenge the gender stereotypes that are associated with manufacturing. She mentioned to the Gainesville Times, “We have to understand that gender stereotypes can cloud what we think and how we react to people, but that’s not how it should be.”

Caldwell began her career at King’s Hawaiian as a catering helper. After talking with the HR manager about her interests in the company; she became a production floor-woman. Soon after, she was promoted to the supervisor position. Her role consists of ensuring the needs of her employees are being met and meeting with the operations teams. Logistics is everything as the factory is able to produce nearly 70,000 rolls an hour.

In a different part of the factory, Samantha Steele oversees the overall safety and well-being of workers. She began her career at the company as a industrial athletic trainer, and then became a safety manager. Steele focuses on ways for employees on the production floor to reduce aches and pains associated with standing/moving for long periods of time. She wants to make sure employees go home as healthy and happy as they came to work. While Steele acknowledges this is a unique way to get into the manufacturing sector, she loves her job and being able to contribute to employee’s health.

On the production floor, Sandra Imperial reflects on her manufacturing career path. Growing up, she felt pressured to go into roles such as nursing or teaching. However, it wasn’t until her 20’s that Imperial realized her passion was in manufacturing. She started work at King’s Hawaiian as an entry-level packer and then transitioned into a dough divider operator. After gaining an apprenticeship, the company paid for her to go back to school and get on-the-job training. Today, Imperial is an industrial manufacturing technician with over five years of experience.

These three women represent a small fraction of the factory’s employees. However, their impact in the workplace has encouraged people from all over to pursue a career because of their abilities and passions not because of biased stereotypes that limit people’s growth. While gender inequality in the workplace is still being challenged, success stories like these continue to prove the benefits of ensuring everyone gets an equal chance at work.

The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center recently received a grant from the Rowley Family Fund for Women and Children to help encourage women and girls throughout the Hudson Valley to pursue a career in manufacturing. To keep manufacturing alive and thriving throughout the region we must inspire and motivate women to enter the field. The Hudson Valley Manufacturing Workforce Center will use the grant money to create videos targeting the young women of the tri-county region in classroom presentations and on social media. These videos will spotlight women in manufacturing at all levels from apprentices to engineers and showcase the many opportunities for success available throughout the region. 

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Council of Industry Roundtable with President Williams of New York Federal Reserve Bank

 

 

On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.

This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing.  The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.

Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.

One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program.  Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.

Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.

President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.

Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.

Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.

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Council of Industry Roundtable with President Williams of New York Federal Reserve Bank

On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy are impacting their companies. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.

This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing.  The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.

Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.

One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program.  Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.

Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.

President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.

Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.

Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.

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