Stecker Machine Blog

Manitowoc Area Students Launch Careers With Machinist Apprenticeships

04/20/2022 | Matt Oswald

High school students are bright, talented, and enthusiastic. And, many are ready to begin a fulfilling career right now!

College debt can be a burden for decades. The military isn’t for everyone. Retail jobs offer limited advancements. However, a paid, part-time youth machinist apprenticeship right here in the Manitowoc County area can kick-start a career.

A CNC (computer numerical control) machinist uses computer technology to produce highly precise machined parts. This is high-tech work in a clean environment that stresses safety.

Youth machinist apprenticeship programs:

  • Pay well and train well
  • Match a young person’s schedule
  • Open up career advancements

Why a Machinist Career? Why Now?

If you don’t know what working in a CNC machine shop is like, read this article. Better yet, check out how a CNC machinist may be the perfect career for high school students and recent graduates.

The average annual salary for a CNC operator in Wisconsin is $36,772 in 2022.1 Remember that passionate, experienced CNC machine operators can work their way up, leading to greater responsibility and higher income.

A youth machinist apprenticeship is the perfect first step. With an experienced machinist as a guide, you’ll learn essential job skills: machining (such as milling and drilling), production processes, and equipment safety.

There are other opportunities for youth throughout the Manitowoc County area. Stecker Machine Company helps get familiar with CNC machining through:

Youth Machinist Apprenticeships — High school juniors and seniors earn credit and wages during these 1- or 2-year programs. Skills gained include valuable CNC machining experience — machining, deburring, packaging, auditing, and logging data — under the guidance of Stecker’s mentors.

Job Shadows — One or two students learn the routines, technology, and responsibilities of a CNC machinist during this 2- to 4-hour experience. This on-site visit allows students to ask questions about daily tasks, career opportunities, and advancement.

Career Experiences — Available to two students per day, this experience connects students to Stecker’s Marketing & Management Team. Discover how the successful operation of a CNC machine shop depends on their input each day.

Student Tours — Up to five students take a tour of Stecker’s two facilities. More than a walkthrough, this experience connects students with machining professionals with varied roles and careers at Stecker.

Who is Stecker Machine Company?

Stecker produces leading-edge CNC machined truck and tractor parts and assemblies for our customers. A family-owned and managed company, Stecker values lifelong learning and believes that young people are a valuable part of our company’s future success.

Years ago, Stecker’s current leaders and managers used their high school educations to jumpstart long-term career success. With on-the-job experience and a passion for learning, they worked their way up from CNC machinist positions to leadership roles.

Stecker reinvests in new technology and constantly focuses on quality, with certifications by DQS Inc. to ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949:2016. A leader in the industry, Stecker is committed to our customers and our 250+ non-union employees.

This video shows the incredible CNC machining happening just south of Manitowoc, at 5107 County C:

Part of the Inspire WI network, Stecker supports their mission to connect students and educators to WI industry partners and offer youth apprenticeship programs.

SOURCE:, What Is the Average CNC Machinist Salary by State, 2022

Matt Oswald

About the Author

Matt leads SMC's Human Resources and Marketing Team. He has worked for Stecker Machine for over 7 years on projects spanning CNC manufacturing, robotics, inbound marketing, and leadership. He enjoys applying his engineering background to any business challenge.

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