In June 2018, Sarasota County’s Precision Machining Program at Suncoast Technical College completed its fifth program year by graduating 13 new machinists. The occasion was marked with a celebration as those graduates brought the program’s five-year total to 102 skilled workers having been trained locally. Also, the program led the state in National Institute of Metalworking Skills manufacturing certifications with 358 completed and a 96% job placement rate after graduation.
These results are attributable to the trailblazing efforts made by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and its partners to start this forward-thinking initiative. Sarasota County Government and the Sarasota County School District agreed to support the concept and established a goal to graduate 100 individuals from the program by the fifth year. Funding for the program’s equipment, which totaled $325,000, was provided by Sarasota County Government and CareerEdge supported the establishment of the program with $25,000 and additional funding for internships. In August 2013, the first Precision Machining program began at Suncoast Technical College and the newest class will start on August 13, 2018 with 18 machinists
Through these efforts, the program has proven to be prosperous, with much credit to a very committed and skilled instructor, Edward Doherty, who continues to lead the program to success and longevity. Students enrolled in the program take part in the year-long training, with hands-on experience, to attain the credentials. Students then enter a career with an average wage of $15.00 an hour, plus benefits, and the potential for future growth.
“There was a need for these workers, and it was our chance as advocates for this community to step in and support the growth of new long-term careers,” says Jeff Maultsby, Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development. “The CareerEdge study opened many eyes to these workforce challenges and allowed change and improvements to be made.”
“This program has allowed us to establish a pipeline of workers that start in entry-level positions and then continue to up-skill and move up in a career with huge growth potential. It is an achievement to have these skilled workers available in our community,” says Bayne Beecher, President of the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association Board and Production Control Manager at PGT Industries.
“With the addition of the Precision Machining Program, there is now a labor pipeline of skilled workers in our region. Even with such a large accomplishment, the problem is far from solved, and machinists are still in demand by manufacturing employers,” says Mireya Eavey, Chief Workforce Strategist, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
Due to the success of the program, the college will be offering an Advanced Manufacturing Program that will allow prior graduates to continue their education and career ladder to other positions within the industry.
For more information on registering for the next class please contact student services at (941) 924-1365 x62283.