by Todd Miller
At a time when small-batch customization is gaining popularity in the realm of beer-making, a similar trend is happening in manufacturing. e growing use of inexpensive 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it’s often called, has resulted in the formation of the Maker Movement. is transformation of people’s relationships to things, brought about by technological advances, allows individuals or groups of like-minded people design, produce and market products crafted by hand or with the help of computer equipment.
As technology enables society to return to localized production, and as large employers continue to decrease the number of jobs they create, Made Right Here, a Pittsburgh-based not-for-pro t organization with offices in the Bakery Square office and retail complex in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood, is providing customized apprenticeships that equip individuals with skills, knowledge and other resources to help startup companies and established manufacturers thrive in today’s dynamic business environment. More than half of the individuals trained through Made Right Here have at least some college experience and are transitioning to new careers or acquiring new skills to become “future- proof” in a fast-changing global economy.
“One apprenticeship program doesn’t t the needs of every company,” says Bernie Lynch, CEO of Made Right Here. “While startups may be focused on additive manufacturing and next generation technology, an established manufacturer may want to find additional applications or markets for the technologies it’s already using, or determine how to integrate new technologies with mature ones.”
By leveraging a three-year U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) grant that was awarded in 2012 and ran through last summer, Made Right Here has been helping hundreds of people, mostly in western Pennsylvania, develop the abilities to make prototypes and manufacture marketable products. e apprentice program is called the “Maker Professional” and seeks to train individuals to earn a living by making. e organization provides training directly to students (a combination of young people beginning their careers and adults transitioning to second or third careers due to downsizings by their previous employers) or on a sub-contracting basis through other organizations and employers.
Made Right Here is one example of the cutting edge new apprenticeships emerging in new industries,” says John Ladd, administrator of the DoL’s Office of Apprenticeship. “Because many employers, particularly small and medium size employers, in the manufacturing, insurance, technology and healthcare sectors, among others, lack the internal resources to develop their own apprenticeship programs, the organization is meeting a vital need by working across an industry to provide registered apprenticeships which meet federal and state standards for quality and rigor.”
Mr. Ladd’s office is working to achieve the President’s goal to double the number
of Registered Apprenticeships over the next five years to 750,000 million. ese goals
are supported by an initial Administration investment of $175 million and an additional $90-million bipartisan investment Congress has made this year — and identical amounts proposed for each of the next two fiscal years — to help individuals “get an education without the debt,” as Mr. Ladd puts it, and to earn at least $300,000 in lifetime earnings. Employers also bene t from a skilled workforce with greater loyalty and lower turnover Finally, “for every federal dollar spent on apprenticeships, there is a $27 return-on investment. By anyone’s standards, this investment is a win for everyone involved.
The Maker Professional Training program that impresses Mr. Ladd and his colleagues is an intense competency- based model which focuses on the development of 100 Points of Competency demonstrated both in training and on the job with employers. this program educates participants about disciplines related to digital tooling like laser, 3D printing, CNC equipment, the methods and processes of digital equipment which includes Inventor, various CAD/CAM so ware programs and at least 3 materials. Teamwork is a vital part of training as well.
“When people understand how their work affects individuals in other aspects of the manufacturing process, people become better at their jobs, and more appreciative of their colleagues,” says Ms. Lynch.
An Innovative Approach to Training & Re-Training
As a result of training opportunities available through Made Right Here, workers who have been downsized out of call center and manufacturing jobs, among others, have taken their artistic and technical aptitudes and passions, and have applied them to mastering digital modelling and making skills.
The organization also offers a “passion track” apprenticeship program for people who want to learn a craft and to use those skills for full-time economic value over the long-term.
“We’re one of the few organizations in the country that’s focused on helping people develop the skills they need to work in startup manufacturing,” says Ms. Lynch, who got the idea for starting the mission of developing startup local and domestic manufacturing while working as a consultant with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
“I noticed that startups were not making products in the United States,” she remembers. “I thought that was problematic and brought it to the attention of CMU’s administration. They also agreed it was a problem, and that’s how the idea for Made Right Here was hatched.”
Besides teaching people how to manufacture products in a startup environment, training courses at Made Right Here teach students how to interact with the supply chain, and how to become startups themselves.
“Oftentimes, someone working in manufacturing will hit upon the idea for a product,” says Ms. Lynch. “By devoting a part of our training program to equipping students with the knowledge and confidence to start their own businesses, we’re playing a role in growing the economy.”
In fact, one of the trainees who graduated from the program made sushi tables for a large hotel in Hawaii, and other program participants have applied their newly-acquired skills to creating CAD/ CAM drawings and other forms of digital modeling for a wide range of customers and clients.
“One of the most desirable aspects of our program is that we take individuals with no skills and train them to be employable on the shop floor of startups and traditional companies,” says Ms. Lynch.
By offering its own training modules, Made Right Here connects with Pennsylvania CareerLink, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s service that is a conduit for unemployed, underemployed or dislocated workers seeking training and employment.
Made Right Here’s Maker Professional apprenticeship training programs differ from those offered by other organizations in several ways by:
• Preparing students to work for multiple startup and making employers by placing them on the Maker Bench
• Equipping students with skills and knowledge to become product firms or supply chain fabricators if they so choose.
• Providing high specialized skill set valued by startup product firms with certifications that are transferrable from one employer to another
A key bene t of receiving training thorough Made Right Here is that individuals can create Maker Pro les which reside on Made Right Here’s website (www. maderighthere.me) and enable them to network with potential employers or customers.
“A Maker Profile is a powerful way for trainees to connect themselves to opportunities,” says Ms. Lynch. “That’s because the pro le allows the Maker to tell the world: here’s who I am, here’s what I make, skills and abilities, type of equipment I can run, materials I work with, projects I’m working on and what I’ve made.”
Whether a graduate of a Made Right Here training program or as someone who’s interested in plying his or her craft skills, an individual can list himself or herself on the Maker Bench. In doing so, he or she can be matched with opportunities that t his or her skills, join teams to work on new projects, connect with other “makers,” startups and established manufacturers, search manufacturing resources that other Maker Professionals have used successfully, learn about new apprenticeship opportunities and find maker spaces.
To replicate Made Right Here in other parts of the country, the organization is in the early stages of collaborating with community colleges and community-based education groups in Chicago, Dallas, Tampa and Seattle. e purpose of these joint e orts is to develop apprenticeship programs which create a workforce prepared to serve some of those regions’ most predominant business sectors. (e.g., energy in Dallas, underwater robotics in Tampa, aerospace in Seattle) To strengthen this e ort, Ms. Lynch hopes to tap into federal funds available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in the same way individual manufacturers have been able to do so since President Obama signed the WIOA nearly two years ago.
As for startups, Made Right Here allows fledgling companies to access knowledge and resources, including traditional contract manufacturing companies who have worked successfully with other startups, and that have the capabilities to do small and large production runs. Additionally, startup companies can create and submit online RFQs that manufacturers in the Made Right Here network receive, as well as search the Maker Bench to find Maker Professionals looking for new opportunities and find maker spaces for developing new products or modifying existing ones.
Established manufacturers can take advantage of Made Right Here by letting the community of participants know about their production capabilities and staffing needs, as well as earn Made Right Here certification and become part of the Made Right Here supply chain for startups looking to manufacture domestically. In fact, over the past several years, Made Right Here has facilitated the training of dozens of individuals needed to fill manufacturing positions in the robotics, medical device and equipment, and energy sectors.
Going forward, Ms. Lynch would like to expand Made Right Here’s offerings to include one-year apprenticeship programs with high school students, such as the one currently underway in cooperation with Neighborhood Allies, a Pittsburgh-based community development organization. She is also optimistic about the possibility of collaborating with the armed services to develop certification programs which formalize recognition of the training enlisted military members receive in apprenticeship programs offered on ships and bases.
“It’s gratifying to help individuals at all stages of their careers and find fulfillment in their daily work,” says Ms. Lynch. “With renewed interest in locally-manufactured products and locally-produced food and beverages, success today means you’re making things down the street instead of on the other side of the world.” WP
Made Right Here allows fledgling companies to access knowledge and resources for doing small and large production runs.
To provide multi-employer apprenticeship training that equips individuals with technical skills and production knowledge to place with startup companies and established manufacturers for all to thrive in today’s dynamic making environment.
192 Bakery Square Boulevard Pittsburgh, PA 15206
855.MakesIt (625.3748) firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.maderighthere.me