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 to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Meet Josh – Apprentice at LoDolce Machine


Josh has been working at LoDolce Machine Company for a little less than a year as a Machine Operator of both Lathes and Mills. LoDolce manufacturers the parts and components needed to produce safe, high quality products. Their parts can be found in New York subways, x-ray machines, fighter planes and more.

When Josh started working at LoDolce last year it came with a bit of a learning curve. He came into the position with a vast amount of prior experience within the manufacturing industry. However, learning to work with metal and the different grains of steel used at LoDolce was a challenge he hadn’t yet faced in his career.

Josh grew up right here in the Hudson Valley. In high school he never considered a career in manufacturing. After graduation he decided to attend the University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana where he was gearing towards a career in either accounting or law; but before he finished his degree Josh returned home to Beacon, NY where he began working full-time.

He spent some time working in construction and later entered the manufacturing industry. Before working at LoDolce Josh was a Lathes Operator and Programmer at Saturn Industries in Hudson. He started at the bottom and eventually worked his way up to CNC Machining. He first learned about CNC machines during a 2-week class with Questar III BOCES in Hudson, and the instructor later recommended him for the job at Saturn Industries.

Josh joined the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program last summer shortly after he started at LoDolce. He’s currently registered under the Machinist (CNC) trade and has taken a variety of related instruction courses while also receiving on-the-job training. Josh first learned about the program from Mark Harris, Director of Manufacturing at LoDolce. Josh said that, “the chance to become a better machinist – and the ability to take on a greater amount of responsibility while having a better understanding of the work” were his primary reasons for joining the program.

Registered apprentices are required to complete 144 hours of related instruction for each year they’re in the program. To help apprentices complete these hours they are each provided with a free subscription to Tooling-U, which allows them to take online courses at their convenience. Additionally, SUNY Ulster has an Advanced Manufacturing Program that allows apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade related courses for free.

Josh enjoys his career as a CNC Machinist and he’s excited to be a part of the apprentice program. He told us, “I really enjoy making things. There are new challenges every day and it’s rewarding when you can come up with solutions to those challenges.”

The demand for CNC Machinists continues to grow, and that need is felt throughout the Hudson Valley. CNC Machinists are hard to find and as the older generations transition into retirement, young people don’t have the skills needed to replace them. The Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice program is one potential source to help fill these open positions. Through formal training this program can provide apprentices that have an aptitude for machining with the necessary skills to be successful.

The Apprentice Program consists of both related instruction courses and on-the-job training. Related Instruction courses are taken by the apprentice outside of work and teach more knowledge-based facets of the trade. On-the-job training requires a journey-level employee, capable and willing to share their experience, to work with the apprentice in hands-on instruction. Combined these two elements provide the apprentice with a more well-rounded understanding of the trade.

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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