Barron Industries launches first apprenticeship program

Apprentice Paul Patrick receives training and mentoring from Darrin Beattie, Manager of Machining Operations at Barron Industries. Photo provided.

By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Paul Patrick is Barron’s first-ever registered apprentice. Patrick, 21, of Lapeer, enrolled in the CNC Machining apprenticeship allowing him to obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally-recognized, portable credential. Oxford Township-based manufacturer Barron Industries registered its apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure it meets national quality standards, a press release said.
The four-year CNC apprenticeship includes 8,000 hours of paid on-the-job learning and another 576 hours of classroom instruction. During the training he will earn from $15-$20 per hour. Barron is funding the apprenticeship with the assistance of a $1,800 annual grant through the Michigan Works! Going Pro Skilled Labor Training program.
“I’m very lucky to have this opportunity at Barron Industries,” Patrick said. “My professional goal is to become a journeyman and eventually a master so I can teach someone else someday as well as my mentor is teaching me.”
Barron’s growing business in the space satellite and defense industries are especially exciting to Patrick. Using the investment casting process, the company manufactures engineered metal components for aerospace, defense, energy and other commercial industries.
Patrick’s on-the-job training will teach him to operate and program the many types of CNC machines at Barron. His classroom instruction at Oakland Community College will include courses in everything from trigonometry to G&M Code and CNC Programming.
At this time, Barron Industries only has one apprenticeship, according to Human Resource Manager Pauline Kearns. When another apprenticeship opportunity opens up, they will advertise on Indeed.com and through Michigan Works!
With the current skilled labor shortage across the country, Barron hopes to recruit many more employees like Patrick. Over 30 percent of Barron’s workforce has been at the company for more than ten years and are approaching retirement age.
“If we succeed in attracting and training the required people we anticipate a growth rate of 10-15 percent in 2022,” said president and CEO Bruce Barron. “However, our true growth potential is inevitably dependent on our ability to attract new skilled workers, and train our incumbent employees.”
With help from the State of Michigan’s Going Pro Talent Fund, Barron hired and trained 35 new employees in 2021. The talent fund provides grants to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees in high-demand skilled trades. Training must be short-term, fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer and lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry.
For the second year in a row, Barron Industries received last month the Best Military Casting award from The Investment Casting Institute. The company won the 2021 award for manufacturing a single-piece thin-wall HVAC Diffuser for a military vehicle.

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