On-The-Job Training

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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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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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 jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements, and potential opportunities.

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