Career fair to highlight new side of manufacturing

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Jesse Dahlberg of JPM Prototype & Manufacturing in Colorado Springs operates a coordinate measuring machine.
Jesse Dahlberg of JPM Prototype & Manufacturing in Colorado Springs operates a coordinate measuring machine.

Manufacturing is “no longer the dirty, dangerous and boring industry of yesteryear,” Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association Convener Paul Choate says, and next month CAMA South’s career and training fair will show how far the field has come.

“There are exciting technologies like robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and Industrial Internet of Things used in manufacturing today,” Choate said in an email. “We think that if parents see the opportunity, the low barriers to entry into the industry through competency-based learning, they will encourage their kids to seriously look at manufacturing as a career.”

At the Manufacturing Career Opportunity and Training Fair March 7, job seekers and students interested in manufacturing will meet local manufacturers and explore careers in advanced manufacturing, Choate said.

They’ll be able to find out what educational and training opportunities are available to meet the requirements for open positions, and in the same room they can meet with representatives from the Pikes Peak Workforce Center to see if they qualify for assistance with the training programs they need.

Parents of students are also encouraged to attend the fair, Choate said.

“We have learned that parents may not be aware of the quantity and quality of manufacturers in the southern Colorado area. They may also not be aware of the many advanced technologies used in manufacturing today,” he said. “And it may be news to them that most positions in manufacturing don’t require a college degree.”

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The average annual base pay for a CNC machinist apprentice in Colorado Springs is $36,000, according to information from CAMA South. A CNC machinist uses computer numeric controlled heavy machinery from setup to operation to produce parts and tools from metal, plastic or other materials.

The average wage for a machinist/mill CNC operator is $42,000 a year, and the average salary for a product design/engineer in the Springs is $76,000.

Manufacturers attending the event will also benefit, Choate said, “because they can get a sense for the pool of interested and well-suited candidates that are ready to join them today, as well as the enthusiasm and excitement for this industry coming from the youth of today.  

“The manufacturers can also see what opportunities are available to them through the educational partners’ incumbent training programs for their existing employees, some of which can be reimbursed through the state,” he added.

The fair will be held at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, March 7 from 3 p.m.

The Career Opportunity and Training Fair runs 3-5 p.m., followed by the Workforce Center Resources Presentation from 5-5:30 p.m., and the Student and Parent Career Exploration Night 5:30-7 p.m.

For more information, visit coloradomanufacturing.org/event/cama-south-career-opportunity-training-fair.