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Kenmode Builds for the Future with Expanded Apprenticeship Program

Posted by Tim Lynch | Oct 20, 2015 4:30:00 PM

Kenmode Precision Metal Stamping is expanding its formal Tool & Die Making Apprenticeship program for qualified candidates who are interested in careers in advanced manufacturing. The five-year/10,000-hour program combines paid, on-the-job training at Kenmode and paid tuition for coursework at Elgin Community College. 

With manufacturing on the upswing, demand for skilled labor is increasing, and Kenmode has enhanced its Tool & Die Apprenticeship Program in recent years, qualifying for certification with the U.S. Department of Labor as a Registered Tool & Die Apprenticeship program. Apprentices who complete the program at Kenmode receive a nationally recognized certification that attests to their proficiency in tool and die making. 

“Kenmode has had some form of apprenticeship program since its beginning more than 50 years ago, in a continuing effort to keep the pipeline filled with highly skilled employees,” explains Bob Denley, Director of Human Resources for Kenmode. “We invest a lot of time, mentoring and financial support in our apprentices, and our desire is to retain every talented apprentice who completes the program. At Kenmode, the apprenticeship program is only the beginning of their development opportunities, as we want to challenge them, expose them to new technology, and continuously develop their skills and interests. We are fortunate that many people who began as apprentices have remained at Kenmode throughout their entire career.” 

Kenmode apprentices are assigned to a mentor and gain experience with a broad array of equipment involved in every step of tool and die making, which requires a high level of machining, mechanical and mathematical abilities. The apprentices work full time at Kenmode, while attending night classes at Elgin Community College, which leads to a certification in tool & die making. Some students may choose to pursue additional coursework to complete an associate degree in Industrial Manufacturing Technology.

According to Curtis Perrin, instructor and apprentice training coordinator at Elgin Community College, the students in their manufacturing programs range from recent high school graduates to adult learners looking for a more stable career, as well as engineering students who want to understand machine shop operations. “Younger people are looking for a direction. By trying different courses, they can find their niche.” He finds that students who commit to an apprenticeship program are highly motivated and truly enjoy the work.

 As technology has brought greater automation and computerization to manufacturing, the careers that skilled employees can pursue offer job satisfaction, good pay, and opportunities for advancement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the State of Illinois ranks third in the U.S. for the employment level of tool and die makers, with some 6,200 people working in those roles as of May 2014, with a mean annual wage of $50,690. Total compensation can go much higher with more experience and overtime work.

Candidates for the Kenmode Tool & Die Making Apprenticeship Program may send their resumes directly to Bob Denley at Kenmode at rbd@kenmode.com.

About Kenmode Precision Metal Stamping  Since its founding in 1960, Kenmode has built a reputation for strict adherence to uncompromised quality and performance standards in the manufacture of complex, high-precision custom metal stampings and assemblies for the automotive, electronics, consumer goods, insert molding, and medical device industries. Today, Kenmode fields one of the largest and most experienced engineering, design, and tool & die teams in the industry, handling a wide range of materials and component parts, from micro-miniature medical stampings to large automotive stampings.

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