It’s a common story heard across the news cycles: labor market woes are being felt across many industries, especially industrial and manufacturing. According to a US Chamber of Commerce article published in October of this year, durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade industries have especially been hit hard with labor shortages in a post-pandemic era. However, in the town of Saukville, WI, a ProMach product brand is doing its part to ensure its town is better equipped with future generations interested in the world of manufacturing.
Matrix, a ProMach product brand and a leader in building vertical form fill seal packaging equipment, has an especially vested interest in serving its community. One of the primary ways is through the support of the Ozaukee Youth Apprenticeship Program, an integrated school-based and work-based learning program that provides high school students in their junior and senior years with academic and occupational skills throughout Wisconsin. Matrix works with the Ozaukee Youth Apprenticeship Program and offers apprenticeships and internship opportunities for students to learn about manufacturing and the world of packaging equipment at their facility. Specifically for vertical form fill and seal packaging equipment, which is used by CPG manufacturers for everyday food items such as popcorn, crackers, and more.
Sam Kurten, a senior at Cedarburg High School, has always had an interest in learning how things are made since he was young. As he’s gotten older, Sam has expressed further interest in pursuing a career in machinery and engineering. Through the Youth Apprenticeship Program, Sam was connected with Matrix and has been working for a year, learning competencies such as hands-on technical skills, critical thinking to solve a variety of problems, and how to be a helpful teammate, among others.
“We have some really great machinists at Matrix that are absolutely at the top of their profession,” Sam said. “Whenever I have questions, they always know what I’m trying to figure out and are there to help me with problems.”
Eric Walker, Mechanical Engineering Manager at Matrix, has seen Sam’s growth throughout his time with Matrix this past year. “Sam is doing fantastic,” Walker said. “He is a very bright young man – that was evident even during his interview. It was obvious to me that he was going to be a very strong candidate. And, thus far, he’s been just that. He has been ideal for this apprenticeship program.”
As for the apprenticeship program, Matrix is and will continue to be an active member. “Matrix has a vested interest in serving the community,” Walker said. “We have access to these young individuals through a program like this. So, it’s an outreach tool for us and allows us to engage in the excitement of younger individuals, and that gives them a bright outlook for their future.”
“My apprenticeship with Matrix has really opened my eyes to all the possibilities within packaging and manufacturing,” Sam says. “So far, it’s been a really great experience to be able to do something that’s going to help me long-term.”
We’re incredibly proud to have students like Sam learn and work alongside some of our talented engineers at ProMach. Watch the video below to learn more about the apprenticeship and how Sam enjoyed his year at Matrix.
Want to learn more about Sam’s time at Matrix? Read the article below from Modern Material Handling where they interview Sam about a day in the life of an engineering intern:
Ferguson, S. (2022, October 31). Understanding America’s labor shortage: The most impacted industries. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.uschamber.com/workforce/understanding-americas-labor-shortage-the-most-impacted-industries
Photos courtesy of Packaging Digest