Andre Herritz has just one gripe about his career — when he says he works in CNC machining, no one understands what he does for a living.
“When people ask me what I do, I tell them, ‘Pick anything in this room and I’ll tell you how they made that,’” Herritz says. “Everyone knows what a doctor or an engineer is, but no one seems to know about the people that, directly or indirectly, have a hand in making every product that people use in their day-to-day lives.”
Herritz always enjoyed shop class and puttering in his uncle’s machine shop in his hometown of Reedsburg. So, after he graduated from high school in the late 1990s, Herritz enrolled in Madison Area Technical College’s Machine Tool Technics program. Around the same time, technological changes began to sweep the manufacturing industry.
In two years, Herritz had earned a certificate that helped him launch a career in computer-numeric controlled — or CNC — machining. Today, Herritz continues to use his knowledge as manufacturing engineering supervisor for Milwaukee Valve Co. in Prairie du Sac.
It’s quite a mouthful, but CNC machining is one of the most in-demand skilled labor positions in Wisconsin, with competitive wages and opportunities to advance. As traditional machinists age out of the workforce, fewer young people are seeking out vocational careers. Nonetheless, Wisconsin ranks second in the nation for manufacturing revenue and manufacturing employees, behind Indiana.
What’s more: there are jobs waiting for students before or upon completing machining programs. Experts say a stigma surrounding trade school in favor of bachelor’s degrees is creating a shortage of workers.
Send us a message and one of our customer service representatives will contact you soon.Contact ×