How to Get a College Education and a Tool and Die Apprenticeship at the Same Time

engineer testing a machine

Lots of companies are hiring right now. You see the “Now Hiring” signs in front of just about every business these days, from retail stores to restaurants to service centers. Many places are offering higher wages than ever, due to the worker shortage. In other words, it’s a “buyer’s market” right now for those seeking work or a different career path.

But what about the future? 10 years from now, the business world may be completely different. Job security and career selection is more important now than ever. Finding a job is one thing… finding a career at a company who respects your time, trains you, helps pay for a degree, and provides career opportunities and long-term job security is another deal entirely.

Finding a career like this is not as difficult to find as you might think, but it does require hard work and a passion for technology, solving problems, and working with your hands. A tool and die apprenticeship at a machining shop is challenging but may be exactly what you’re looking for if you want to work in a growing field that offers advancement opportunities.

Consider a Tool and Die Apprenticeship at Ahaus Tool & Engineering, right here in Richmond, IN. Now in its 40th year, our apprenticeship program has trained and developed more than 45 graduates, many of whom have become veteran, professional engineers and machinists within Ahaus and at other companies. Our apprentices receive on-the-job training as well as a formal education; we partner with Purdue University College of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College to help our apprentices earn degrees in highly competitive and well-paying fields.

Why Become a CNC Machinist?

The machinist’s role in a shop is to set up and program advanced CNC machines and monitor the cutting and deburring as the machine makes parts. The machinist then inspects the parts using advanced technology and adjusts the parameters accordingly to get the job done. Here are a few reasons to consider a career in CNC machining:

1. The work is rewarding and challenging ?

Not only do you get to work on different projects every day, the tools you work with vary on a daily basis, from hand tools to computers to CNC machines to multi-axis robots. You will be learning to master some of the most sophisticated industrial equipment in the world.

2. You can earn a highly valuable technical degree from a great school ?

Ahaus partners with Purdue University College of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College to provide degrees to our apprentices for free while they work and earn money. And no matter where your career leads you, at Ahaus or beyond, your degree goes with you.

3. The work provides a sense of accomplishment ?

When a project is complete, there is this great feeling of accomplishment and pride. Ahaus teammates get to work on some pretty cool projects, from parts for popular car brands, to components for life-saving medical devices. The work we do at Ahaus matters in a big way to people all over the world.

4. The work is year-round and indoors ❄

Many skilled, trade-related jobs require work in some pretty challenging or unpleasant environments. With a tool and die job at Ahaus, you get to work in our well-lit, wide open, climate-controlled environment in year-round comfort.

5. It pays well ?

Machining work is a financially rewarding and stable field that provides workers with a solid income and opportunities to save for retirement. Career minded, dependable people in this industry will continue to be in high demand.

6. You get to solve complex problems ?

Work at Ahaus is often about flexing our biggest muscle of all, our brains. We often ask our machinists to make something run better, or faster, or more accurate. Our clients often come to us with problems; it is our job to solve those problems. Working together to come up with those solutions is all part of the job.

7. You get to work with your hands ?

There are makers, and then there are MAKERS. Machining is hands-on work. You are creating something using your hands, your mind, machines, and computers. Our projects may sometimes start as abstract ideas, but the end results are always very real tangible things that are only made possible with hands-on effort.

8. You work with the best ?

When we say best, we don’t just mean the best machinists – we mean the best people. A career at Ahaus means joining a group of dedicated individuals that are pulling in the same direction, truly care about our customers, excel at working together, and genuinely support the development of their peers. If these sound like your kind of people, machining at Ahaus is a great place to find them. Many of them started out as apprentices, too.

An apprenticeship at Ahaus is a comprehensive undertaking that can build long-term stability, lifetime skills and lifelong friendships. And it all starts with the smallest details. “We want our apprentices to turn a handle on a mill, so they can feel it as well as hear it,” said Kevin Ahaus, Ahaus Tool & Engineering president and co-owner. “You can go on to a CNC machine and do the work a lot faster, but you don’t necessarily have that feeling. And we think that’s very important.”

Ahaus continued, “Our apprentices learn the traditional machining methods like manual lathes and mills, and then move into CNC machining and other techniques including design and assembly so that they are well-rounded and can be an asset to any part of our company and choose what they want to do in their long-term career. We’re proud that so many of them work with us today.”

It’s no surprise that Ahaus takes pride in being built for good, as in:

Built for learning. Built for careers. Built for good.