STRATEGIC EARLY WARNING SYSTEM

Bucks County Technical Training on Display to Governor Wolf

Recently, Governor Tom Wolf traveled to M&S Centerless Grinding, Inc., whose medical division is located in Bucks County, to witness young people who are helping to make a growing manufacturing organization very successful. While accompanied by an entourage of local dignitaries, the actual showstoppers of the governor’s visit were the young, motivated workers (recent graduates of Buck County Technical training programs) who were operating the sophisticated computer-driven machines used at M&S. The impetus behind the visit was promoting Governor Wolf’s “Jobs That Pay” tour. The result was first-hand interaction with a talented workforce, average age of 32, making high-end products for international medical and aerospace corporations.

“Governor Wolf asked a lot of probing questions and spent a significant amount of time learning how our employees felt about working in manufacturing” stated John Shegda, owner and president of M&S. “He was really interested in how, and why, they chose to seek training and develop skills in our industry.” While operating a successful and growing business, John is also president of the local chapter of National Tooling and Machining Association, a board member of the Manufacturers Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and serves as a manufacturing advisor for technical training programs at Bucks County Community College. Three of M&S Grinding’s latest hires are recent graduates of the newly-created machinist training program at the community college.

John has been a longtime advocate of finding inexperienced, quality individuals and provide the training necessary to allow them to grow into the sophisticated jobs at his high-tech company. He has been a strong proponent of using digital training tools to supplement the hands-on experience for specific machines. However, John’s real focus has been to get involved at the high school and technical school level. He has felt that for too long manufacturers themselves have stayed on the sidelines and complained, hoping the problem will be solved by someone else. John feels that “Manufacturers have be the ones in the driver’s seat. They have to lead by example and live the daily challenges of developing a younger workforce. Our future as business owners in Southeastern PA depends upon it.”

In his comments to the media, Governor Wolf emphasized the importance of technical training and the opportunities that manufacturing offers to young people seeking a good career. PA State Senator Stewart Greenleaf remarked that small companies such as M&S Grinding can be easily overlooked by the public sector, as well as the general public, but are “hidden jewels” and have a tremendous impact on the welfare of Pennsylvania’s economy. For John and his young M&S workforce, the day’s event was a validation that a commitment to training, a plan to nurture and support employee development and a whole lot of hard work can result in a business success that they were proud to showcase for the governor. 

Article written by Greg Olson, Director, SE SEWN Region, 215-776-0130, , www.steelvalley.org.