Written by Mark Jaeger
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 16:57
County employers show manufacturing is more than assembly line work
High school students from around Ozaukee County gained valuable exposure to the expectations of the real-world workforce last week during the Manufacturing and Career Expo hosted by Ozaukee Economic Development.
The gathering, which was held at Cedarburg High School, attracted more than 300 students.
The session was intended to get students to think about their job prospects beyond high school.
Modern Equipment President Jim Winistorfer, one of the presenters, said he was generally impressed with the variety of employers represented and the mind-set many of the students brought with them.
“I think the expo opened a lot of eyes to the jobs that are out there in the manufacturing sector beyond the assembly line,” Winistorfer said.
“They got a chance to see there are meaningful jobs that require intelligent people who are interested in working in fields like engineering or marketing.”
He said the event gave exhibitors a chance to assess the wide range of preparation present in the future workforce.
“There were some students coming through that seemed to be completely unaware that there is 10% unemployment in the local workforce,” Winistorfer said. “Others had a very clear idea about their entrepreneurial intentions for the future — whether it was becoming a pastry chef or a physical therapist.”
Winistorfer said he got to share stories of his own work history, from a high school shop teacher, to positions in sales and management.
“What I told students was that your first job might not lead to your final career. I said you have to be flexible and keep your eyes open to your own strengths and passions,” he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching and coaching and that is something I continue to apply even today.
It was the third year of the countywide career expo, which started at Port Washington High School in 2008. It was held last year at Grafton High School.
Organizers said the purpose of the event is to provide students with accurate information about manufacturing careers.
Sixteen businesses and community organizations manned information booths during the expo.
Participating businesses included General Metalworks, Telsmith Industrial Technical Services and Jorgensen Conveyors, all of Mequon; KleenTest Products, Modern
Equipment and Molded Dimensions, all of Port Washington; SEEK Careers/Staffing, Kapco Inc. and Ram Tool, all of Grafton; Charter Steel of Saukville; Aurora Health
Care, North Shore Bank and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Also taking part were the Vocational Committee of the Mequon-Thiensville Rotary Club and Workforce Development 2020.
THE MANUFACTURING AND CAREER EXPO held last week at Cedarburg High School introduced more than 300 students to the diverse jobs available with industrial employers. Above, the technical nature of jobs at Kapco were explained by employees (from left) Darin Flannery, James Thiel and Amanda Groh. Photo by Sam Arendt