Awarded a training grant from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, Ultra Machining Company teams up with Anoka-Ramsey Community College to provide customized, on-site training sessions for employees.
Monticello manufacturer Ultra Machining Company (UMC) has created precision-machined parts and products for more than 40 years. The company's rapidly growing customer base is spread throughout the United States and across a variety of industries, ranging from medical devices
and implants to aerospace.
Because manufacturers for these industries face increasing requirements in the supply chain, UMC's management saw that regulatory training for employees would be essential in order to keep up with the 5,000-plus orders it receives each year.
"With our medical customers, there's just so much more involved in [terms of] equipment qualifications and validations, and a lot of upfront work in planning the manufacturing of a part," says Laura Iversen, chief operations officer. "We know that increasing regulation is
the wave of the future, and that's why we chose [to train in] that area."
To remain technologically competitive, the company deemed automation, systems and technical training equally important.
Kerry Barnard, director of continuous improvement, says the company previously had planned to train workers in these areas gradually and over time. But a grant from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) allowed the company to tackle all training initiatives at once. MJSP
grants help Minnesota businesses and schools work together to create a more highly skilled work force. UMC has partnered with Anoka-Ramsey Community College to develop curricula customized to the company's needs--and taught right at UMC.
More than 90 of UMC's 130 employees already have participated in various trainings. By 2011, the company's goal is to train all 130 existing employees, plus the 50 new employees it projects to hire by the end of the grant term.
Iversen says she believes the trainings have fostered better communication throughout the company. "These trainings have provided consistency, so we're all using the same language and we all have a clear understanding of what it means and what we need to do," she says.
Cheri Axel, training specialist, says the grant also has motivated UMC to make training a high priority. "Training is always so hard for companies to stay on top of," Axel says. "Everybody wants it, everybody needs it, but it often falls to the bottom of the priorities.
This has kept us very consistent with projecting our training needs."