District 200 manufacturing program preps students for careers
A new dual-credit program beginning this fall at Woodstock High School will prepare students for skilled manufacturing positions that pay a starting salary of about $40,000.
“Manufacturing jobs are coming back, and this is a good entry-level position with a good future,” said Steve Thompson, career and technical education division head at WHS and an adjunct McHenry County College instructor.
The computer numerical control program will teach students to use technology to program machinery to make parts. Thompson said a number of local companies, including Scot-Forge in Spring Grove, which has donated about $3,000 to purchase textbooks, need workers with these skills.
The program consists of three one-semester courses. Introduction to manufacturing will be offered this fall to juniors and seniors. Introduction to computer numerical control will be offered in the spring to students who successfully complete introduction to manufacturing.
Both classes will be taught at WHS but also are open to Woodstock North High School students. Each class will provide three MCC credits.
The third course will begin next fall. Advanced computer numerical control will be offered through MCC to high school seniors and graduates who have successfully completed the first two classes. It will be taught at WNHS.
After successfully completing advanced CNC, students are qualified for a certification test offered through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.
“Once they pass this, they’re certified to work on any CNC mill and lathe. These are jobs that are in high demand,” Thompson said.
Thompson has taught MCC’s CNC program since it began three years ago as a government-funded program to retrain laid-off workers. Thompson said job placement for the first class to complete the program was more than 90 percent.
Thompson said about 12 high school students are enrolled for the fall semester.