Utah partners launch CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program

A bold step to boost state workforce and manufacturing

Beginning this academic year, Utah partners launched the CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program, sponsored by the Utah Manufacturers Association. In collaboration with USHE’s Talent Ready Utah, the Department of Workforce Services, the Utah State Board of Education, Granite and Weber School Districts, Ogden-Weber Technical College and Salt Lake Community College, the program aims to fortify the state workforce and advance its manufacturing sector by bridging the skills gap in advanced manufacturing.

This initiative unites industry, education, and government to provide high school students with a dynamic career pathway and hands-on experience in precision machining.

“The success of our state depends on a skilled workforce,” said Todd Bingham, president and CEO of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “This program aligns with our vision to create a vibrant and resilient workforce, ensuring that Utah remains competitive on the global stage.”

The CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program has been thoughtfully designed to merge classroom learning with paid experience, enhancing the student learning experience by facilitating interactions with employers. Utah’s leading manufacturing companies, including Clean Machine, JD Machine, Paramount Machine and Parker Aerospace, have come together to develop and pilot the program to foster a pipeline of talent and job-ready candidates. Their involvement provides students access to cutting-edge technology, real-world machining environments, valuable work experience and a chance to interview for permanent employment. Additionally, employers involved in the program gain a skilled workforce.

“This program is a testament to Utah’s commitment to innovation and workforce development,” said Brad Robeson, president and owner of Clean Machine. “The CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship is an example of what can be achieved when industry proactively engages education and government with a shared vision—then does something about it together.”

One of the program’s features is its flexibility, allowing high school students to enroll in courses as early as their sophomore year to prepare for their two-year apprenticeship commitment. The hope is that this approach will empower students to embark on a career path while still in high school.

“This apprenticeship will serve as a bridge between knowledge and practical skills for Utah high school students and offer them a unique opportunity to not only learn but also earn through on-the-job training,” said Dave Woolstenhulme, USHE commissioner of higher education. “The CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program is a prime example of how we can prepare job-ready students and meet the ever-evolving needs of industry.”

Upon completing the CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program, students earn a Certificate of Apprenticeship from the Department of Labor and a Machining Technician Certificate from OTech or SLCC. This dual certification validates their skills and positions them for rewarding career opportunities. Additionally, if a student goes on to earn a journeyman license, these certificates apply toward (or stack into) that licensure. This opens doors to even more advanced career opportunities in the machining industry.

The CNC Machining Youth Apprenticeship program represents a shared commitment to building a robust and highly skilled workforce for the future. This industry-education partnership actively seeks additional industry partners willing to be a part of driving this transformative initiative. To learn more about the program and how you can get involved, please contact the Utah Manufacturers Association.

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