Guidance Counselors Introduced to Bison Gear's Skilled Workforce Initiative

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Area community college brings together high school guidance counselors and industry to discuss new career paths for skilled manufacturing job opportunities.

Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. and Waubonsee Community College hosted a group of guidance counselors serving Illinois' Fox River Valley for an introduction to Bison's Skilled Workforce Initiative. With a mature workforce that has developed an extensive inventory of valuable skill sets over time, and which is increasingly entering retirement, it has become critically important for those seeking to enter skilled manufacturing positions to come prepared for the responsibilities and rewards that are offered.

The counselors participated in a workshop offering an overview of new manufacturing career opportunities and the necessary skills requirements to take advantage of those opportunities upon secondary education completion. Types of entry level jobs, internships, "job shadowing", career paths, salary ranges, continuing education assistance and other benefits were discussed. An overview of the manufacturing environment was followed by a Bison Gear plant and facility tour for the educators.

Working with community colleges, Bison Gear has helped develop a 12 week curriculum which encompasses applied math, blueprint reading, hand tool usage, manufacturing practices, and employment, life and safety skills. Successful completion is rewarded with a Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) certificate, the only national, industry recognized foundational skill certifications for production workers. The next course begins August 20, 2008, at the College of DuPage. For information or to register, contact Ms. Donna Claffy,, or phone 630-942-2135.

Waubonsee Community College's Valley Education for Employment System (VALLEES) provides secondary and post secondary career and technical education programs in partnership with business and industry to equip students with the appropriate skills to enter the workforce and succeed.

Bison Gear's Skilled Workforce Initiative has been endorsed by many educational organizations and community development leaders. CBS Evening News recently featured Bison's workforce development efforts in its series, "Hard Times, Good Jobs", exploring the challenges that Bison and other advanced manufacturers have finding qualified candidates for these new positions and the solutions being implemented with local community colleges.    

About Bison Gear & Engineering Corp.
Founded in 1960, Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. designs and manufactures fractional horsepower electric motors, gearmotors and gear reducers used in industrial and commercial OEM applications worldwide. Bison's strong engineering tradition, based on Robusticity (TM) principles, offers products with up to twice as much torque in the same package size as competitors. Bison employs over 250 associates in its St. Charles, Illinois facility which produces gearmotors and reducers in parallel shaft and right angle configurations, as well as AC and DC motors, for applications where dependability and long lifetimes are important.

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Brenda Thiessen
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