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Finger Lakes Features: Joseph Dean, on Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways

FLWIB Executive Director Karen Springmeier and Joseph Dean at FAME’s annual event, hosted by MCC on April 30th

Advanced manufacturing is the practical application of science and technology. Companies have outgrown their pools of skilled workers, and are eagerly recruiting to train and fill these positions. There are a variety of post-secondary education programs available, which provide candidates the opportunity to acquire a real salary, gain on-the-job experience and earn a college degree. This is a risk-free stepping stone, which is applicable to many different career paths – even those beyond manufacturing.

I first learned about manufacturing at Monroe Community College. Through MCC and the NY Inspire Grant, I was able to complete the Precision Machining Certificate Program and receive entry level tools of the trade, all free of charge. The learning environment was truly immersive and laid a strong foundation with which I could enter the job market. While I was attending school, I began working part-time at Micro Instrument Corp, and was offered a full-time position upon graduation. In just six months, I was able to go from having no manufacturing experience to starting a new career.

I am a second-year tool maker’s apprentice at Micro Instrument Corp. My department specializes in low volume precision machining. I am given blueprints and models to use in order to manufacture parts to customer’s specifications. The planning and execution are left up to me, allowing me to incorporate my own creative process into each part. It is easy to compare this work to a game of chess, every move must be strategized, every move plays into a win or loss. I feel a strong emotional connection to the success or failure of each part I make.

I had initially pictured vocational training to provide a stable, but modest career path. On the contrary, Micro and the NYS Apprenticeship Program are strong advocates for higher education and are consistently pushing me to pursue my interests. I truly feel like I am at the beginning of my career. I am happy to have made this decision and encourage more to do the same.

Joseph Dean,
Second-year tool maker’s apprentice at Micro Instrument Corp.