Rockford needs more careers, not just jobs

The Rockford Tooling & Machining Association (RTMA) has been offering careers to our manufacturing community for the past 50 years through our locally supervised, but nationally and internationally recognized apprenticeship program. The 14,000 plus manufacturing jobs that were lost in the past few years were offered by large, multinational corporations that came to the Rockford area and left. These corporations offered jobs; the RTMA apprenticeship program offers careers.

What’s the difference? It’s all about ownership. A career is an occupation you must develop, you could be a machinist, tool & die maker, plumber, electrician, computer technician, or a nurse, fill in your own blanks. Careers require time to develop skills and money to pay for training; however, once you possess a career, it belongs to you, it’s your personal property, and nobody can take it from you. A job, on the other hand, belongs to your boss. No matter how good you are at your job, you’ll never have ownership of it. Many of the 14,000 that I mentioned don’t have bosses, and they no longer have unemployment insurance, or if they’ve found a job, they’re making much less money than they were making before.

The RTMA apprenticeship program has its classrooms at RVC for the formal education portion of our training, including, but not limited to, mathematics, blueprint interpretation, AutoCAD, metrology, tooling processes, CNC program and setup. The practical experience is provided in our member plants by experienced personnel. Many of our trainers are graduates of the RTMA program, and quite often you will be trained by the owner/manager.

This subject is far too complex to discuss in this article, and I would like to continue in the future, but for now, remember this: careers can lead to a better lifestyle for you and your family.

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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