Arthrex Manufacturing Apprentice Program Graduate Excels
Dan Huffman has had several different professional roles in his lifetime, including Navy seaman, commercial and residential electrician and even an independent business owner. But, according to Dan, the best title he’s had is Arthrex Manufacturing Apprentice Program (AMAP) graduate.
Founded in 2009, AMAP is a four-year program that teaches a select group of hard-working people computer numerical control (CNC) operations, the SolidWorks engineering program and to use other related manufacturing equipment. Through on-the-job training and classroom work, the program is designed to help participants excel in their field and develop their careers in manufacturing.
Dan graduated last year and has been a Machinist I in Milling at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. East for the past eight months.
“My life is so much better since I started the program,” said Dan. “As an electrician, I used to work long hours in the hot sun and had to crawl through stuffy attics. This is something I really enjoy doing and there’s so much more opportunity at Arthrex.”
The program is extremely popular and receives about 150 applicants each year; however, in 2014, the year Dan was selected, there were close to 400 applicants. Both Arthrex employees and external candidates apply for the program and the selection team usually chooses two internal and two external candidates each year.
Supervisor of Manufacturing Training Michael Koszewnik explained part of the program’s appeal, saying, “AMAP provides an intensive learning opportunity and is an investment by both the apprentice and Arthrex. Successfully completing the program has helped many graduates excel in this field.”
Program participants have on-the-job training from 5 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and then attend classes from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. twice a week for the duration of the four-year apprenticeship.
“You have to be sure this is something you want to do. Set aside a lot of time. It’s rewarding, but you need to be dedicated,” said Dan.
Apprenticeship and continuous learning are key components to Arthrex’s success. Arthrex leadership visited the manufacturing training program at Pinellas Technical College in Clearwater, Florida in 2008 and met Michael, the program coordinator and instructor at the time. President and Founder Reinhold Schmieding then set in motion the plan to create Arthrex’s own apprenticeship program and AMAP was launched just a year later.
AMAP is registered through the Florida Department of Education and is one of only three CNC machine operator programs in the state. It’s also Florida’s only Individual Non-Joint (INJ) program, which means that graduates earn a certificate recognizing their skill in manufacturing that’s acknowledged across the U.S.
Dan was very thankful for the many people who helped him during the program, especially Michael and Machinist I Jeffrey Bailey, who used to help mentor the apprentices during their program and still works closely with many of them.
“If we ever had a little downtime, Jeffrey would create a test for us,” said Dan. “He went above and beyond to make sure we learned everything we needed to know about the job.”
AMAP embodies several of Arthrex’s core values, including teamwork, integrity and service. Apprentices share ideas and help each other succeed as they work and study together.
“It’s so fulfilling to watch the apprentices grow during the program and to know that I’m helping them develop their careers as well as helping Arthrex by training dedicated employees,” said Michael, who is still passionate about AMAP and teaching after 44 years of work in manufacturing.
There are several AMAP graduates working at Arthrex today and Dan said that it’s a pretty tight-knit group. He’s looking forward to learning more each day and hopes to continue his journey of professional growth in manufacturing that began with AMAP.
AMAP accepts new apprentices each fall. If you or someone you know is interested in applying, visit our recruiting website, Careers.Arthrex.com, in September and October and look for Manufacturing Apprentice opportunities.