Cardinal Alumni Say Soft Skills are Key for Success

Hearing from alumni of Eleva-Strum High School's Cardinal Manufacturing program, there's no doubt that learning soft skills were just as important as practical machining and welding skills.
Monday, July 17, 2017 0 comments

The American Mold Builders Association hosted a plant tour on June 27 at a small company that we’ve all heard quite a lot about since it was launched seven years ago: Cardinal Manufacturing in Strum, Wisconsin. I finally made it out to see this student-run facility up close and was very impressed by the layout of the place, the equipment in it, and by the never-ceasing dedication of Craig Cegielski, instructor, founder and director of Cardinal. But I was especially enthralled by the students and alumni we met.

During the tour of Eleva-Strum School District’s Cardinal Manufacturing wing, AMBA members were given the opportunity to meet both current student employees and alumni. Let me tell you, these were very impressive youngsters. Current employees were busy and very focused on the tasks at hand. They were appropriately dressed, wearing eye protection and close-toed shoes. They looked and acted confident and more mature than most kids their age (in my experience). If I didn’t know they were working for a school-sponsored company to learn real-world skills, I’d have thought the operation was a small machine and welding shop start-up.

It was when we met five of the Cardinal alumni that I began to understand the effect participating in this program has on the students. For one, it gives them a reason to walk taller. Cardinal Manufacturing is geared to teaching, but it’s run like a business because it serves real customers from the region. Students learn, by doing, an array of skills, from marketing services to quoting jobs, ordering supplies, managing inventory, keeping books and invoicing, and so on. It’s not just about the actual production work. Every student has skin in the game, as they say, and being given that responsibility is empowering. “There’s no doubt that learning the soft skills was key to our getting a leg up on job opportunities after graduation,” said Tom Brazeau, who grew up on a farm, worked at Cardinal while in high school, attended technical college and today is looking to start his own machining company. He has already purchased his first CNC machine, and told AMBA members that Cardinal Manufacturing kept him in school. “You feel needed,” he said. “The freedom and trust that you’re given as part of the program really made me feel like I was part of something important.”

Cole Nichols agreed, saying he and his fellow Cardinal alumni have a kind of “celebrity status” in the eyes of current students. “We felt more peer pressure to go into the Cardinal Manufacturing program than to avoid it,” he explained. “You’re a rock star if you make the team because everybody wants do it.” Cole earned a mechanical engineering degree and said he had three job offers right out of college.

Dana Kensmoe, who was the only girl when she participated in the Cardinal program (someone commented that she could out-weld some of the guys), works as a welder now and said she’s the only woman welder where she’s employed. Tycon Rohrscheib attends the University of Wisconsin, Stout, and says because of his experience at Cardinal, he would like to become a technical education instructor. Last, but not least, is Austin Beyton, who, inspired by his time at Cardinal, works as a CNC machinist in Chippewa, Wisconsin.

The takeaway for me is the value of learning how being a team player, a good communicator, responsible, resourceful and creative, and all those other soft skills, and applying them to real life leads to positive futures. These alumni have proven that combining practical skills with those that nurture employability is the key to success.

If you read MMT, or our sister publication Modern Machine Shop, then you’ve heard the story of Cardinal Manufacturing. If the existence of this role model machining and welding shop run by students and Mr. Cegielski is news to you, just do a search on either of our magazines’ websites. I can assure you that you will come away quite inspired.


Contact
Cynthia Kustush
Moldmaking Technology Magazine/Blog
https://www.twitter.com/@MMT_CyndiK
ph: 513- 527-8800


Comments

Leave a Reply

HTEC Terms and Conditions
es fr pt


Terms and Conditions

www.HTECNetwork.org

Your access and use of the Haas Automation - HTEC Network website (the "Site") (www.HTECNetwork.org) is subject to the following terms and conditions ("Terms and Conditions") and all applicable laws. By accessing and browsing the Site, you accept, without limitation or qualification, the Terms and Conditions and acknowledge that any other agreements between you and Haas Automation, Incorporated are superseded and are of no force or effect.

1. You should assume, unless otherwise noted, that everything you see or read on the Site is copyrighted and may not be used, except as provided in these Terms and Conditions or in the text on the Site, without the written permission of Haas Automation, Incorporated. Haas Automation, Incorporated neither warrants nor represents that your use of materials displayed on the Site will not infringe rights of third parties not owned by or affiliated with Haas Automation, Incorporated.

2. While Haas Automation, Incorporated uses reasonable efforts to include accurate and up to date information on the Site, Haas Automation, Incorporated makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy. Haas Automation, Incorporated assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content on the Site.

3. Your use and browsing of the Site is at your risk. Neither Haas Automation, Incorporated nor any other party involved in creating, producing, or delivering the Site is liable for any direct, incidental, consequential, indirect, or punitive damages arising out of your access to, or use of, the Site. Without limiting the foregoing, everything on the Site is provided to you "As Is," without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non infringement. Please note that some jurisdictions may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so some of the above inclusions may not apply to you. Check your local laws for any restrictions or limitations regarding the exclusion of implied warranties. Haas Automation, Incorporated also assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages due to computer viruses that may infect your computer equipment or other property on account of your access to, use of, or browsing in the Site, or your downloading of any materials, data, text, images, video, or audio from the Site.

4. Any communication or material you transmit to the Site by electronic mail or otherwise, including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like, is and will be treated as non confidential and non proprietary. Anything you transmit or post may be used by Haas Automation, Incorporated or its affiliates for any purpose, including but not limited to reproduction, disclosure, transmission, publication, broadcast, and posting. Furthermore, Haas Automation, Incorporated is free to use any ideas, concepts, knowhow, or techniques contained in any communications you send to the Site for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to developing, manufacturing, and marketing products using such information. Images of people or places displayed on the Site are either the property of or used with permission by Haas Automation, Incorporated. The use of these images by you, or anyone else authorized by you, is prohibited unless specifically permitted by these Terms and Conditions or specific permission provided elsewhere on the Site. Any unauthorized use of the images may violate copyright laws, trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity, and communications regulations and statutes.

5. Unless otherwise noted, the trademarks, logos, and service marks (collectively the "Trademarks") displayed on the Site are registered Trademarks of Haas Automation, Incorporated. Nothing contained on the Site should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise, any license or right to use any Trademark displayed on the Site without the written permission of Haas Automation, Incorporated or such third party that may own any Trademarks displayed on the Site. Your misuse of the Trademarks displayed on the Site, or any other content of the Site, except as provided in these Terms and Conditions, is strictly prohibited. You are also advised that Haas Automation, Incorporated will aggressively enforce its intellectual property rights to the fullest extent of the law, including the seeking of criminal prosecution.

6. Haas Automation, Incorporated has not reviewed all of the sites linked to this Site (if any) and is not responsible for the contents of any off Site page or any other sites linked to this Site. Your linking to any other off Site pages or other sites is at your own risk. Although Haas Automation, Incorporated may from time to time monitor or review discussions, chats, postings, transmissions, bulletins boards, and the like that may appear on the Site, Haas Automation, Incorporated is under no obligation to do so and assumes no responsibility or liability arising from the content of any such locations, nor for any error, defamation, libel, slander, omission, falsehood, obscenity, pornography, profanity, danger, or inaccuracy in any information contained within such locations on the Site. You are prohibited from posting or transmitting any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic, or profane material or any material that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law. Haas Automation, Incorporated will fully cooperate with any law enforcement authorities or court order requesting or directing Haas Automation, Incorporated to disclose the identity of anyone posting any such information or materials.

7. Haas Automation, Incorporated may at any time revise these Terms and Conditions by updating this posting. You are bound by any such revisions and should therefore periodically visit this page to review the then current Terms and Conditions to which you are bound.

(or press ESC or click the overlay)