Manufacturing Training Program Hailed as Big Success

ROCKFORD -- A summer manufacturing training program is being hailed as a big success. Of the 24 recent graduates of the partnership program between Rockford Public Schools, Rock Valley College and Woodward, 22 already have jobs with local manufacturing companies.

The 10-week program prepares students for jobs as computer numerical control, or CNC, operators and for two tests for a National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.

Local businessmen say with good training, the jobs are out there. Ron Phillips, general manager of Header Die & Tool, hired two graduates of the program, and was quoted in a news release as saying, “With the baby boomers retiring at a rapid pace, the need for new talent is mission critical to us. The skill level of the people we have hired from the program far exceeds anything we have seen in recent years. The candidates understand responsibility, motivation, pride and determination.”

'Eyewitness News' profiled the program in July, and found students who said the training was very helpful and easier than they first thought. "I feel like I can actually do this," program participant Joseph Cooper told us. " I mean it's not that hard to get a hold of, but it's pretty easy in concept."

The program is funded through an RVC grant and with financial support from the Century Club, a small group of investors focused on improving Rockford.

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