Chris’ Story: Finding Success with Machining

Chris with his graduation certificate

In 2009, Chris was building a successful business as a construction general contractor. Then, the housing bubble burst. Demand dried up for his business, and on top of that he was dealing with health and family issues. Most recently he was working part time in construction and living in subsidized housing, just making ends meet.

A friend told Chris about Machining training at the EMERGE Career & Technology Center (ECTC). So Chris signed up for EMERGE and Hennepin Technical College’s 10 month CNC Machining course.

Chris is just one of hundreds who have taken a training course at the EMERGE Career & Technology Center since it opened in March 2015. At the ECTC, Hennepin Technical College’s Machining Lab helps students practice Machining skills via a virtual welder, computer aided design technology, 3D printing and more. These skills are in huge demand. Current data says that 71% of manufacturers are struggling to recruit and retain skilled workers.

For Chris, it wasn’t easy. “They throw a lot at you in a short period of time – a lot of training in a big hurry.” Chris excelled at the math portion and even tutored several of his fellow students but was not comfortable with computers. During the 10 months, he learned to navigate a computer, input data, and program.

Before even graduating, Chris had a job offer from a manufacturer of medical devices. Now, Chris manufactures pacemaker parts. Speaking about his experience with EMERGE Chris says “I got more than I ever expected. To find success in school was huge. It gave me confidence again.”