By Liz Witbeck
Roger Harrington has worked in manufacturing for the past 14 years, but was interested in learning more about the field.
“I strived for a maintenance job” said Harrington. “I became aware through my employer that there was an apprentice program I could apply for. They wanted additional skills, like do you have higher level math, do you have vocational training.”
Harrington, who works for General Electric, enrolled in the Adult Machine Tool Technology training program. It provides the skills necessary to enter into a career in machining, namely the trade of forming and shaping metal products.
The program started in November, a brainchild of Bill Resse and Lou Buck
of the Saratoga-Warren-Washington Workforce Investment Board.
The federal Workforce Investment Act required that local areas appoint a
business led board to provide policy guidance and oversight in
conjunction with the local county chief elected officials. The
Saratoga-Warren-Washington Counties Workforce Investment Board is one of
In addition to the training program, they offer a One-Stop Centers to
provide a variety of services that will help you find a job.
“There’s been a dwindling supply of machinists, not just in our state
but across the country” said Resse. “We want to fulfill a need for that
Buck and Resse spent time meeting with area employers in order to
understand the needs they had. Together, they collaborated with
businesses to create the Adult Machine Tool Technology training program.
Fifteen students have matriculated into the program during this first year.
Classes are held at the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES
building in Hudson Falls. Students attend on weekdays from 4:30-8:30
p.m., as well as two Saturdays each month. The program involves hands-on
training, in which participants spend time with local business owners
learning skills involved in machining. Several employers directly help
with the program, including Seeley Machine, M&S Precision Machine
and Haanen Packard Machinery.
Participants fulfill 500 hours of training in order to qualify for graduation. The program begins in November and ends in May.
Funding for the program is fueled by grants. The Workforce Investment
Board received a $3 million federal grant from the Workforce Innovation
Fund, as well as additional funding from the Workforce Development
Institute, Resse said. Participant expenses are minimal, with students
only having to pay some supply fees.
“Machining is a very important aspect of everybody’s daily life, even if
we don’t realize it” said Resse. “It’s used in government, it’s used in
the military. Anything you can touch has had machining involved. So the
opportunities in this field are quite good.”
The graduation ceremony for the first class of the Adult Machine Tool
Technology training program was held on June 3 at the WSWHE BOCES. Ten
of the participants in the program graduated and received a certificate
Several students have already been hired by local employers because of their involvement with the training program, said Resse.
For Harrington, the future is less certain. General Electric is closing
down its Fort Edward location and moving operations to Clearwater, Fla.
“I have been looking at some other electrical machining apprenticeship
programs in the area” said Harrington. “They are not closing for another
year so I still have some time.”
Buck and Resse hope to bring more students into the program and offer
more features. They are currently talking with local colleges about the
possibility of offering college credits to those who enroll in their
Planning has begun for the second round of training to begin next fall.
Students who are interested in the program can contact Resse at 824-8883 or Buck at 824-8880.
Photo Courtesy Saratoga-Warren Washington Workforce Investment Board