Employer Success Stories

Orbitform

Located in Jackson, Michigan, Orbitform is an assembly equipment solutions company that designs and builds assembly equipment for manufacturing. Their services include orbital riveting and fastening, impact riveting, roller forming, assembly automation, projection and resistance welding, and more.

Orbitform Plant Manager Jacob Sponsler has been with the company for 11 years and was able to talk with us a little bit about working with Workshops for Warriors graduate Karl Adams, who is a CNC Operator and Programmer at the company.

When asked about the company’s experience finding qualified candidates prior to hiring Karl, like many manufacturing executives Sponsler explained that Orbitform found this to be one of his biggest challenges.

“Most all of our positions are technical and just about everyone working on the factory floor is skilled trades of some sort.  Both engineering and skilled trades are in high demand so adding in those areas has posed some significant challenges.  In general, we have had to look to hire earlier than in the past because we provide much of the training rather than having candidates that are close to having all the skills and experience needed when they walk in the door.”

Because there is such a large gap between jobs being created and skilled workers in the manufacturing industry (see this infographic for more information), finding the right talent can be tough. Orbitform has 84 employees but has had to fill 10 positions over the last 12 months.

Sponsler spoke specifically to the machining industry when discussing which technical skills were lacking in the candidates that he interviewed.

“We had trouble finding quality people with any machining or industry experience and when we did, finding someone with Mastercam programing experience has been incredibly rare. Those with full programming experience that we came across where available for a reason that made them not attractive new hires.”

Sponsler talked a little bit about their local apprenticeship program and how this has been their traditional path to augment on-the-job training for their skilled employees. This allows them to learn a wide variety of skills, concepts and theories that help them become a well-rounded machinist. However, while Sponsler spoke very highly of this program, he was especially impressed with Workshops for Warriors because of the CAD/ CAM technologies students learn before graduating.

“The apprenticeship program is also a long program that takes 4 years to complete, which is tough when you need the skills today. We rely on our CNC machinist to be able to open and review SolidWorks files and assemblies and then if there is a part we haven’t made before, program the part in Mastercam. That makes the mix of Mastercam and SolidWorks that WFW focuses on perfect for us,” Sponsler said. “We design and produce forming and fastening equipment and automation so our machining is extremely low volume (1-100 pcs) and high variety making SolidWorks and Mastercam programing ability critical to our business.”

Karl Adams is a 2015 Workshops for Warriors graduate and has been employed with Orbitform for 5 months as a CNC Operator and Programmer. You can read his Student Success Story here.

“With our experience with Karl coming in fully capable and certified in both Mastercam and SolidWorks and some experience making parts, after only 16 weeks of training at WFW, we have found his time from hire to adding tremendous value much quicker than other hire and train avenues we have taken.” He added,

“Jackson, MI has a great manufacturing community and Orbitform has done what we can to make this manufacturing community aware of WFW and the success we have had with it. I think the program is outstanding.”

–Jacob Sponsler, Plant Manager of Orbitform