The Ahaus Apprenticeship Program — Thoughts from the Coordinator

The Ahaus Apprenticeship Program is a nationally accredited education program for toolmakers and CNC machinists. We’ve been offering the program for more than 30 years, because we believe training and development, as well as a passionate work culture, is essential for any successful business.
Mark Moistner is the coordinator of the Ahaus Apprenticeship program, overseeing and personally mentoring every student who goes through the program. In addition to his more than 30 years of industry experience, Mark is especially well-suited to oversee the program because of his personal experience — he was one of its first graduates over 30 years ago.
According to Moistner, the Apprenticeship Program has changed a lot in 30 years. The introduction of CNC machining has sent the far less-efficient “manual” machining into a rapid decline.
“The hands-on approach of the old days has passed by and gone the way of CNC machining,” Moistner said. “It’s much safer and faster now. We don’t even have a jig borer in-house anymore. The students are getting a lot of CNC training, as that’s where the industry’s going.”
Moistner sees the Apprenticeship Program as being mutually beneficial to both the company and its employees, and credits the program with contributing to the success of his own career.
“Being able to spend time with journeyman toolmakers and experienced guys here on the floor is invaluable. And we’re finding out that to get the people who are needed in this particular trade, it’s almost a necessity to ‘grow’ them inside the company. That way, you get employees with exactly the right skills.
“We know the program has been successful because a lot of our current employees have gone through it, and you’ll find them scattered all throughout the company,” Moistner added. “Some of them went on to be engineers; others went into sales or applications engineering. Even if they don’t stay on the assembly floor, they still have been beneficial in the growth of the company.”
In addition to coordinating the Apprentice Program, Moistner is a lead toolmaker, and also works in the service department.