Training Grants Available From The PMPA Education Foundation

If your company’s machinists or salespeople need training in precision machining equipment, there could be a grant available to cover part of the cost of that training. Each year, the PMPA Education Foundation sets aside funds for a variety of training activities. The grants go to companies, individuals, schools and organizations.


If your company’s machinists or salespeople need training in precision machining equipment, there could be a grant available to cover part of the cost of that training. Each year, the PMPA Education Foundation sets aside funds for a variety of training activities. The grants go to companies, individuals, schools and organizations.

Precision machining shops that send their employees to approved classes and pay the tuition to the training provider can apply to the PMPA Education Foundation for a grant. If the grant is approved, the PMPA will pay half the cost of the tuition. Any company has access to this program, not just PMPA members.

The foundation’s board considers grant-related requests for the following: hands-on, shop-oriented technical training on how to operate and set up precision machining equipment; schools and commercial institutions that provide training directly related to the precision machining industry; PMPA regional or district programs related to training; and reimbursement of costs related to National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.

The Education Foundation currently works with three machine-specific training programs: an Acme Gridley program at Lorain County Joint Vocational School (LCJVS) in Oberlin, Ohio; a Davenport program at Brinkman Products (parent company of Davenport Machine Company) in Rochester, New York; and a Brown and Sharpe program at NNT Corporation in Itasca, Illinois. Classes are generally held two to three times a year, with class sizes ranging from four to ten trainees.

An example of a typical grant request is the recent training received by Rick Finau, an outside sales engineer at Kerr Lakeside in Euclid, Ohio. Mr. Finau attended a 1-week class at LCJVS, where he was taught how to set up and operate Acme Gridley equipment.

“The training was geared mainly for operators,” says Mr. Finau. “But with me being a salesman and being new to the screw machine side of our business, our president felt it was important that I get exposed to what the machines do. It was a very intensive, weeklong training. It certainly has helped me learn more about what it is I’m selling every day.

“I learned about speeds, feeds and transitions from one station to the next,” he continues. “I also learned about some of the challenges in determining what tool to use, what operation to perform and at what station. There’s certainly a lot that goes into the operation upfront before you even make a single piece.”

Mr. Finau says the training has definitely helped him in his sales job. “I like to be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk when I sell,” he says. “So it’s important for me to understand exactly what I’m talking about when I’m out there selling.” The sales engineer admits he still isn’t qualified to set up an Acme Gridley machine, but, he says, “I do have a much better understanding of how that machine is set up and some of the challenges and issues involved. I think the training served me well, and I expect it will continue to serve me down the road.”

With the grant from PMPA, Kerr Lakeside received $450 or half the total cost of the Acme Gridley class. “We paid for the training upfront and PMPA later reimbursed us,” says Mr. Finau.

Davenport also offers training courses that are eligible for PMPA grants. The firm started its classes in response to an industry survey showing that companies need proper training to remain competitive. Since its inception, the training program has received high accolades
from attendees.

“The Davenport 301 Advanced Operator course is one of our most popular,” says Liberato “Lib” Pietrantoni, director of sales at Davenport. “It’s a five-day course that covers everything from A to Z. It’s for someone with a couple of years experience running the machine, and it’s designed to elevate that person to a setup or lead position. 

 “At Davenport, we teach three different ways,” explains Mr. Pietrantoni. “All of our courses involve classroom instruction using materials in a binder that the student keeps for future reference. We also show PowerPoint presentations and videos outlining the material. Then there’s the actual hands-on work on the machines to reinforce the course material. Classes are consistently rated “Excellent” in the areas of course content, materials, organization and trainer expertise.

“PMPA’s sponsorship of our training has been in place since the Davenport program was started in 2006,” Mr. Pietrantoni says. “The sponsorship allows our students to recoup 50 percent of the cost of the course. I think there’s a lot of value there.”
So how does PMPA identify which training providers to support? That responsibility is handled, in part, by David Holscott, consultant to the PMPA Education Foundation. “I review on-site training providers to make sure that each course is something the foundation wants to support,” says Mr. Holscott. “The providers furnish the equipment and their instructors develop the curriculum.” PMPA then
advertises the approved courses
on the Listserve.
”We’re continuously looking for new programs,” Mr. Holscott points out. “We hope to have a CNC training program in place in the very near future.”
The PMPA Board of Directors established the PMPA Education Foundation in 1999 to ensure the future success of the industry by supporting educational research and related projects.
The foundation was organized exclusively for charitable purposes related to the precision machined products industry. It is a 501(C)3 charitable organization, so personal and corporate contributions are
tax-deductible.
Grant money can be used to pay for or help defray the cost of tuition, in-house training or other educational activities and events. Subjects considered for training include technical, quality, management, supervisory skills, material or any other educational subject related to precision machined products companies.
If you are interested in sending your employees to one of the training programs mentioned, or if you are a training provider with a program that serves the precision machining industry, contact the PMPA Education Foundation at www.pmpa-foundation.org.