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Machine Operator

Meet Todd – Apprentice at Pietryka Plastics


Todd has been working at Pietryka Plastics for the past 7 months as a Machine Operator. He works the night shift and spends his time making sure the machines are up and running efficiently.  Pietryka Plastics is a leader in the injection-molding business. Through the use of high-tech robotics they supply custom plastic parts to a wide range of industries including: cosmetic, pharmaceutical, automotive, packaging, and electronics.

Todd was born and raised in Connecticut and moved to New York just over 16 years ago. He’s worked in a variety of different industries throughout his career including retail, landscaping, automotive and manufacturing. In high school his primary interest was in the automotive industry. Although his high school at the time was cutting vocational education programs, Todd was able to convince his teachers to allow him to bring in his car for himself and his classmates to work on. He spent most of his free time rebuilding lawn mower engines and fixing up his car.

After high school he entered the workforce as an Automotive Technician in Connecticut. For nearly 20 years he spent his time working on cars and trucks, a passion he realized early on in life. Todd first entered the manufacturing industry when he began working at Pietryka as a Machine Operator. From the start he enjoyed being able to work with his hands and he learned the trade fairly quickly. He worked at Pietryka for 8 years, but when things slowed down he went on to do other things for a few years before returning about 7 months ago.

Todd learned about the apprentice program from his supervisor and was eager to join. They worked together to determine how best to accommodate his night shift schedule. The Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program requires a combination of both on-the-job training and related instruction, and Todd was worried that his work schedule would make it difficult for him to complete his related instruction courses. They were able to come to a solution and Todd now arrives 30 minutes early to each shift and spends time working on his Tooling-U courses.

Apprentices get a free subscription to Tooling-U, an online training platform designed specifically for the manufacturing industry, to help them complete the required 144 hours of yearly related instruction. Todd told us he was hesitant to use the program, and worried that because he learns much better in hands-on scenarios that online classes would be a challenge for him. However, he’s been pleasantly surprised at how simple the program has been for him to navigate thus far.

Todd told us that each class he’s completed has taught him something new. He said “I’m thankful to have been given this opportunity and the chance to accomplish new things.” Todd’s registered under the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) trade and he’s currently about two months into the year and a half long program.

The IMT trade is the Council of Industry’s newest approved trade. The program is shorter than the others and allows employees of different industries and backgrounds to gain a better understanding of manufacturing while receiving the benefits of being a registered apprentice. Apprentices that show an aptitude for other trades while in the program can later go into longer apprenticeships for fields such as maintenance mechanic, toolmaker or CNC machinist. Thus far the IMT trade has been popular with employees entering the manufacturing field for the first time with an interest to learn and grow within the industry.

The apprentice program typically takes two to four years to complete, and there are currently six registered trades: Machinist (CNC)Electro-Mechanical TechnicianMaintenance MechanicQuality Assurance AuditorToolmaker and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Meet Bruce – Apprentice at Elna Magnetics


Bruce has been working at Elna Magnetics in Saugerties, NY for the past 6 months as a Machine Operator. During his time at Elna he’s learned how to use cutting machines, grinders, mills and how to handle ferrite materials. In 1955 Elna was founded as a custom machine shop providing specialized ferrite cores to the electronics industry. Today they continue to provide custom machining services as well as authorized distribution of Ferroxcube, Fair-Rite Products, EPCOS ferrite and much more. Their products can be found on driverless tractor trailers, missile defense and drilling equipment.

Bruce grew up and attended high school in Daytona Beach, FL but eventually made his way back up to New York. He’s enjoyed working with his hands from a young age, and as a kid he spent his time constructing and playing with his Erector Set. After high school he didn’t initially consider going into the manufacturing field, but his career naturally led him down that path and he’s enjoyed it ever since.

Before becoming a machinist Bruce worked in assembly. He didn’t have any prior experience working with CNC machines but was able to work his way up and learned quickly. “I fell into it and I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” said Bruce “making different parts everyday and being able to work with my hands is what I like the most.”

Bruce just recently registered as an apprentice under the CNC Machinist trade. He told us he still has a lot to learn and he’s looking forward to gaining more knowledge about the industry as a whole while in the program.  

Elna Magnetics is actively making an effort to invest in their employees and create an environment for growth. The apprentice program has given Elna a formalized way of providing their staff with the tools and resources needed to be successful. “I’m excited to have Elna onboard” said Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator at the Council of Industry. “It’s nice to see companies investing in their staff and preparing their workforce for the future.” Elna offered Bruce the opportunity to join the apprentice program after quickly realizing his potential, and they’re currently in discussion with Ms. Hansen on how to offer this program to other members of their team.

Apprentices gain a well-rounded understanding of the trade through a combination of related instruction courses and on-the-job training. Related Instruction courses can be completed online through a free subscription to Tooling-U, or in a classroom. SUNY Ulster currently offers an Advanced Manufacturing Program, which allows apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade-related courses for free.

In just over a year the Council of Industry’s Apprentice Program has reached over 60 registered apprentices, 35 of which are located in the Hudson Valley. The program is currently supporting apprentices in Orange,  Ulster, Dutchess and Westchester County, as well as on Long Island. The successful launch of this program has been both exciting and encouraging for everyone involved. 

The apprentice program typically takes two to four years to complete, and there are currently six registered trades: Machinist (CNC)Electro-Mechanical TechnicianMaintenance MechanicQuality Assurance AuditorToolmaker and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Meet Zach – Apprentice at Stanfordville Machine


Zachary has spent the past 3 months at Stanfordville Machine & Manufacturing Company as a Machine Operator, and recently registered as a pre-apprentice in The Council of Industry’s NYS Registered Apprenticeship Program. Originally from Poughquag, NY Zach attended Arlington High School where he actively enrolled himself in all of the technology and woodworking classes offered. After high school Zach attended SUNY Morrisville for a year to study furniture design.

Once Zach realized he learned better outside of a classroom setting he decided to pursue a trade. Manufacturing gave him the opportunity to learn while working with his hands. He first spent two years as an Assembler for a manufacturing company in Wappingers Falls before taking his current position at Stanfordville.

His time at Stanfordville thus far has been filled with learning experiences. Coming into the position with no prior Machine Operator experience, everything is new. With the help of his supervisor and senior coworkers Zach has managed to take on this new role and learn a lot along the way.

Zach’s move to Stanfordville was largely motivated by his desire to become part of an apprenticeship program. His search led him to Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development at the Council of Industry. Johnnieanne was able to work with Zach to help him find a position that had the potential to fill his desire of becoming a registered apprentice.

When asked about the apprentice program Zach said he was especially, “looking forward to becoming a skilled worker, rather than a laborer.” He’s excited to learn a skill that requires critical thinking and thought processes. Zach is enrolled in the CNC Machinist Registered Trade Program, where he will take a variety of related instruction courses as well as participate in on-the-job training.

The Council of Industry’s Manufacturing Alliance Apprenticeship Program is an employer-led public-private program for registered apprentices in manufacturing occupations. The program typically takes four years to completes and includes a combination of on-the-job training, which consists of journey level employees capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, and related instruction courses to include more theoretical and knowledge-based aspects of the craft.

There are currently eight registered trades in the Council of Industry’s program: Machinist (CNC), Electro-Mechanical Technician, Electronics Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Operator, Toolmaker, Welder, and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information, or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565 – 1355 or to discuss details, requirements, and potential opportunities.

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