It's a huge hurdle to economic development in America, a lack of skilled machinists to fill millions of unfilled hi-tech manufacturing jobs. Bad for industry, bad for the economy..bad for the country.
One of the most successful battles to close America's skilled machinists gap is being fought here at Jerod Dailey's precision machining class at South Adams High School in little Berne, Indiana.
“They've got to be dedicated and a lot of these kids this is where they find their place in high school,” says machining instructor Dailey. “It's neat to see because they have a future then.”
For 18 years Jerod Dailey has been taken unfocused, directionless high school kids and turned them into skilled machinists, competent at designing and creating precision products out of raw iron and steel. Students here must be committed to mastering the skills or they will be asked to leave. And that discipline does more than teach these kids a trade. Senior Lars In'teroen says it changes their lives.
“You just learn a lot of stuff,” he says, “things you need to know when you grow up like showing up on time that's a big deal doing what you're supposed to be doing even if the boss isn't watching.”
100 percent of the graduates of this class will be offered high paying jobs by local industry the day they graduate, 100 percent...an astonishing statistic and a blessing for local business. All the machines you see here, all state of the art, were donated by local companies.
“They know that they can get good employees from here,” says Dailey, “and that they're gonna see the value more with the machines sitting here than what they can with them sitting in their own shop.”
South Adams' precision machining program was just declared the best in the state by the Indiana Department of Education, a remarkable accomplishment...turning high school kids into skilled, dependable workers, guaranteeing them high wages and success, and helping bridge a serious gap in American manufacturing, one skilled graduate at a time.