Ready employment. There are real jobs available in the precision machining industry. I read the classified advertising sections in the Sunday newspapers every week. There is always at least a quarter page of advertisements looking for qualified setup machinists and operators regardless of the metropolitan market I’m in.
Usually, there are also a number of other positions to be filled. These include positions for toolmakers, quality assurance and inspectors. The advertisements are there regardless of the state of the economy. Skilled machinist positions are always available in almost every market.
Great work. The precision machining industry provides challenging, satisfying, technical work. One day, the work might involve making critical parts for an automotive anti-lock brake. Another day, it might be airbag components or hydraulic fittings for military or aerospace applications.
There are a host of machined parts on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a Dodge Ram truck, a Caterpillar or John Deere tractor, even a Boeing 777. Precision parts can be found in vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, plumbing system and faucets, stoves, furnaces, air conditioners, gas grills and garage door openers.
Some shops produce implants for medical and dental surgeries. In our industry, at the end of the day, you can see the tangible results of your skill and effort. People have safer, better lives because of your ability to produce the right parts.
Great wages and benefits. Entry-level wages for toolmakers and setup machinists—during training—are on par with the wages a business major might earn after a 4- or 5-year bachelor’s degree program. But there are no tuition bills or loans to repay. Precision machining shops offer great benefits as well.
Great life. There are not a lot of fields where one can pursue a career and not have to worry about what the future will bring. Low-cost competition from China and India has not killed our industry. Rather, it has strengthened us as we continue to manufacture even higher precision and more safety-critical components and medical implants.
Today’s shops are being run with lean methods and environmentally sustainable practices to international quality standards. Sloppy, grimy, dirty—these words no longer describe manufacturing in America. CNC machines, just-in-time production methods, lean manufacturing techniques, along with great housekeeping and state-of-the-art facilities, give a truer picture of American manufacturing today.