Company working with school to find workers

May 18, 2012

From “Company working with school to find workers” — ALGOMA – The small, Lakeshore community of Algoma (with a population of just 3,167) isn’t the first place you might think an aviation machining company would be located.

That’s just what Precision Machine Incorporated president Jamie Spitzer says his clients are often surprised about.

“They kind of ask, on the map, about where we are,” said Spitzer, who founded the company in 1997. “A lot of times we got to do some explaining because they’re not familiar (with Algoma). You know, once we tell them where we are, they kind of laugh a little bit and they’re like, OK, now we know.”

However, Spitzer says the location isn’t hurting the company when it comes to finding business. He says he’s actually turning work down, something he wishes he didn’t have to do.

“We can buy machines all day long, we can add on to the building, but finding good people that want to work, qualified people, skilled labor, very, very difficult,” said Spitzer.

Spitzer says a common problem he and other businesses in Algoma are facing is a lack of skilled employees to fill much needed positions.

But he hopes a program that he is involved with at Algoma High School will help machine those employees for the future.

Nathan Petersilke, 18, is one of about 100 students benefiting from the recently re-vamped technical education program at Algoma High School.

“I came into senior year not really knowing what I was going to do,” said Petersilke. “But now my mind is set.”

The senior says he’s always been interested in machining.

However, it wasn’t until this year that he could see his ideas go from an idea, to a design in an industry-level computer program and then have it created on a high-tech machine, into a finished product.

“Being able to see the finished product is, like, you’re proud of it,” said Petersilke, who will be graduating in the spring and will go on to study at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. “I took all the steps and the cutting of that metal in making this finished part. It’s kind of self-satisfying.”

“I think, as educators, we have to look at making sure what we’re doing is authentic and working with people in a collaborative sense, because that’s how we’re going to go forward,” said Algoma High School principal Nick Cochart.

There won’t be much down time for Petersilke after graduation – between getting ready for NWTC, he’ll be working as a drafter and an “all around guy” for Spitzer, in his shop.

And the job creation isn’t just on the manufacturing side.

Cochart says the technical education program at Algoma has been so successful, the school is looking to hire additional staff.

Spitzer says he’s also looking to add positions over the next 12 months, totaling up to 25 new jobs.


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