Meet Peter, a CNC Machinist at Sono-Tek Corporation in Milton, NY for the past 2 years. Sono-Tek currently has two apprentices in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program; Elaine, an apprentice registered under the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) trade (you can read more about Elaine’s story here), and Peter who is registered as a CNC Machinist. Sono-Tek has been the leader in ultrasonic coating solutions for over 35 years, supplying equipment to a variety of industries worldwide, including medical, textiles, glass, electronics and food processing. Peter’s responsibilities at Sono-Tek vary but he spends the majority of his time setting up the CNC machines with the appropriate tooling and cutting parameters.
Peter grew up in Salt Point, NY and attended Ketcham High School. While in school Peter began to develop an interest in IT. After graduation he attended Ridley Lowell – a business, technical and trade school located in Poughkeepsie, NY before its closure in early 2018. Through the connections he made at Ridley Lowell he found his first position in the manufacturing industry at an optics company in Irvington, NY.
Peter first gained experience with CNC machines during the 3 years he spent in his previous job. His position required the operation of lathes machines with diamond turning. Peter explained to us that diamond turning is a much simpler process than what’s required of him in his current position, but it helped him gain the basic skills he needed to be successful at Sono-Tek.
When Peter realized that his work was no longer challenging, he began looking for a position where he could utilize his new skills, and that’s when he found Sono-Tek. He told us, “This position has offered me a chance to continue leaning and growing within the manufacturing industry.” He also said that he’s learned a lot so far including the set-up of over 20 different tools. The apprentice program has even given him the opportunity to gain some experience in programming to satisfy his continued interest in IT.
Peter joined the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program in February as a CNC Machinist trade after the opportunity was offered to him by his supervisor. He told us that the chance to gain more knowledge and strengthen his skills was what initially attracted him to the program. Peter told us that so far he’s not only sharpened his knowledge of CNC, he’s also gotten to explore and learn from other departments as a result of being in the program. The apprentice program has continued to expose him to different departments and opportunities to learn while on the job.
The Apprentice Program requires a combination of both on-the-job training and related instruction hours. On-the-job training needs the presence of a journey-level worker to guide and instruct the apprentice while at work. Related Instruction hours can be achieved through a variety of platforms. Each registered apprentice receives a free subscription to Tooling-U an online learning platform designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.
Opportunities for related instruction are also available at local community colleges. As a result of the SUNY Apprenticeship grant, SUNY Ulster offers registered apprentices up to $5,000 worth of trade related courses for free. Many companies, like Sono-Tek for example, provide regular on-site training to employees that can also count towards an apprentice’s related instruction hours.
Sono-Tek has been incredibly supportive of both the Council of Industry and the apprentice program. The continued dedication of Vince Whipple and Ed Bozydaj has helped make the program a reality for Sono-Tek employees. “Companies like Sono-Tek are the reason programs like this are successful, they are always looking for meaningful ways to support their employees and remain ahead of the curve” said Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development at the Council of Industry.
If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.