America’s Cutting Edge celebrates its 3000th online recording

ACE Training Helps Revitalize American Manufacturing

, November 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — “I’m 34, this is my first manufacturing job and I’m really excited about my future!” said Marcus Bemon of Denton, TX. America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) is happy to celebrate Marcus as the 3000e registered for their free online machine training as a pathway to a more fulfilling and successful career in manufacturing.

“I was a painter for a long time, and you never knew when your next job would be. Manufacturing is constant work, and I love that,” Marcus said. He joined Mayday Manufacturing in April, doing deburring and a form of powder coating for about $15 one o’clock. Then he heard about CNC machining. Mayday has five levels of machinists who do anywhere from $17 over $30 per hour. “I’ve enjoyed it here so far, but I’m ready for new challenges,” added Marcus.

Mayday Manufacturing is a leading custom manufacturer of aerospace rings, pins, sleeves and turned metal parts. For over 50 years, Mayday has produced over 130,000 unique aircraft components, and their parts are found in nearly every military and commercial aircraft in the western world. Mayday is growing steadily to meet increasing customer demand, and the need to attract and train new talent is key to continued success.

Craig Barhorst, Chief Operating Officer of Mayday, saw ACE as a tool he could use to help his employees develop their skills and advance in their careers. “Marcus is the perfect example of someone who shows a desire to learn and is dedicated to a fresh start,” Craig said. “We often target recent high school graduates, but Marcus is a whole different demographic of career changers that we can work to attract. This is our first experience with ACE training, but we’re excited about the possibilities. “

When Marcus’ supervisor mentioned the opportunity, he didn’t hesitate. “Sign me up!”

ACE’s Incredible Growth

ACE is a national initiative to restore the importance of the American machine tool industry. ACE training focuses on the fundamentals of computer numerical control (CNC) machining, but is for anyone interested in manufacturing. The 6-hour online course and 32-hour in-person training require no prior experience and are offered free of charge.

Since its launch in December 2020ACE Online attracted a diverse group of 3,000 registrants from all 50 states:

  • 69% come from education
  • 31% come from Industry
  • 55% have no CNC experience
  • 54% attend 4-year colleges
  • 7% attend community college or trade school
  • 9% attend high schools

“Whoever you are, wherever you are, there’s a place for you in the making, and ACE is a pathway to making your dreams come true,” said Adele Ratcliff, director of the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program, ACE’s main funder. “This training can be a path to prosperity for you and your community while contributing to the economic security of our country.”

ACE online was the most popular in Tennessee and North Carolina but is rapidly gaining ground in the Lone Star State. Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the University of North Texas (UNT) are two of the newest machine tool training centers, with the model being used to expand the ACE program nationwide. Together, they cater to a wide variety of populations to deliver ACE training and receive excellent feedback from the defense manufacturing industry. Mayday Manufacturing and Safran are two defense contractors that send many employees to complete both online and in-person training. Texas is a particularly critical state because it is number one for defense contract spending in the $71.2 billion annually and represents 14% of total US defense spending.

Hector Siller Carrillowho leads the UNT ACE training, explains, “Our primary focus is workforce development. Dallas-Fort Worth is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, with more than 7 million inhabitants and growing. We know industries are looking for talent, and ACE is a great training tool to cultivate curiosity.”

“This is how we are bringing manufacturing back to America – through collaboration and a focused effort to expose as many people as possible to the world of manufacturing,” said Joannie Harmon, director of workforce development at the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). Through an agreement with the DoD’s IBAS, IACMI manages the scale-up of the ACE, using the program developed by Dr. Tony Schmitzprofessor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and coeducational faculty at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Our partners are deploying a national strategy at the local level, which in turn impacts their economy, their community and their individual lives,” added Joannie.

What’s next for Marcus?

Next up for Marcus and several of his colleagues will be the in-person ACE bootcamp offered a few miles down the road at UNT. Having this facility so close to Mayday Manufacturing will give their workforce an edge to explore what machining is all about before embarking on their 90 day apprenticeship. ACE offers hands-on training in all the fundamentals of CNC machining, including design, writing code, and understanding how vibration influences product quality.

Starting out in a new field can be daunting, but Marcus believes ACE is that stepping stone to not just a job, but a career. Plus, he’s already recommending it to others. “I’m grateful for as secure a job as possible. I’m ready for what’s next.”

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SOURCE IACMI – The Institute of Composites