Meadville Tribune

January 21, 2013

Jobs in demand, but instructors hard to find

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — Two manufacturing jobs of the future are becoming so high demand that the Precision Manufacturing Institute of Meadville is having a hard time finding instructors to teach courses in those specialties.

Currently, PMI wants instructors for both CNC (computer numerical control) machining and industrial maintenance mechatronics. CNC machining uses a computer controlled machine to execute a series of machining operations automatically for precision work that is used to manufacture parts or molds to make parts. Industrial maintenance mechatronics is  maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing complex industrial machines.

“Because these are high demand occupations, we have a growing number of students who want to earn a diploma in these skilled-trade areas,” said Chuck Guiste, PMI’s executive director. “But we are having a hard time finding qualified CNC and mechatronics instructors in our area to teach courses for our diploma programs.”

Local industry leaders say its indicative of the problem the area’s tooling and machining industry faces.

“Right now, there’s a lack of tool and die makers,” said Dennis Frampton, noting the work force in the tooling industry is aging rapidly and is seeing many employees retiring. Frampton is president of C&J Industries of Meadville, a precision plastic injection molding and contract manufacturing company.

“It can be hard to keep someone. If you’re really good, you’re working for me,” Rob Smith said with a laugh. Smith is president of Acutec Precision Machining, a maker of parts for the aerospace, defense and power generation industries, with plants in Meadville and Saegertown.

Both Smith and Frampton serve on PMI’s board of directors as well.

Founded in 1987, PMI not only serves as training center for industrial novices and incumbent industry workers, but as a research center/proving ground for the latest manufacturing equipment. Area tooling and machining firms often work through PMI to rent time on the latest manufacturing equipment to test prototypes of parts and products before potentially buying the equipment.

PMI recently posted job listings on the Internet job site and is looking at manufacturing communities like Pittsburgh and Erie; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown in Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Detroit, Mich.

PMI hopes to find those with five years or more of experience as a CNC machinist or mechatronics industrial technician with excellent verbal and written communications skills.  

“Obviously going from being a machinist or technician to an instructor is not a job change everyone can make,” Guiste said. “But for the right person it could be a great opportunity to make a career change and help us prepare the next generation of skilled tradespeople in these hot job categories.”

Both Smith and Frampton agreed.

“If we find the right candidates, we can teach the skills they’ll need like laying out the course curriculum,” said Frampton.

“Not all great machinists are great teachers,” said Smith. “Our standards are high on what we want the person to have the ability to do.”

While PMI is looking for full-time candidates, Guiste said he would consider qualified part-time instructors to help fill the void his training center currently faces.

The salary is not being disclosed publicly by PMI, but is listed as competitive and the full-time positions come with a complete benefits package.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

To apply for the positions with the Precision Manufacturing Institute, interested candidates can link to and search for the PMI job listings for CNC Machinist Instructor-Trainer ( or Mechatronics Instructor-Trainer (