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CNC Service Technician Program at Anoka Technical College

(l-r) Tony Bailey, President and co-owner, Northwest Machine; Keith Barry, Team Leader, Mazak; Roy Gentry, National Training Supervisor, Mazak; Kevin Gardner, Service Manager, Northwest Machine; Jesse Oldenburg, Machine Trades Instructor, Anoka Technical College; and Matt Rogers, Machine Trades Instructor, Anoka Technical College

(l-r) Joel Lundin, CEO and co-owner, Northwest Machine; Matt Rogers, Machine Trades Instructor, Anoka Technical College; Jesse Oldenburg, Machine Trades Instructor, Anoka Technical College; and Tony Bailey, President and co-owner, Northwest Machine, with the new Mazak HQR-150MSY twin spindle, twin turret, dual Y-axis multitasking machine.

The idea of starting a CNC Service Technician program at Anoka Technical College (ATC) began when Tony Bailey and Kevin Gardner from Northwest Machine visited ATC for a meeting inquiring as to whether the college currently had classes in the area of CNC service technician.

"We had to tell them that we did not currently have those classes," said Jesse Oldenburg, Machine Trades Instructor, ATC. "However, I informed Tony and Kevin that I was thinking about taking a sabbatical, and asked if they would be interested in the idea of me coming to work for them, doing service for a year. My thought was that while working for their company, I would be able to do the necessary research for the purpose of starting the CNC Service Technician program at ATC."

In the beginning of 2019, Northwest Machine hired Oldenburg as a service technician. "Northwest Machine did this with the knowledge that I would not be a profitable member of their team, but they were more than willing to take the loss so that we at ATC could begin a CNC Service Technician program that in the end would be beneficial to all within the industry," said Oldenburg. "Northwest Machine also spent the time and money to send me to Mazak Corporation for extensive training, which was invaluable to starting this new CNC Service Technician program."

"Furthermore, Northwest Machine invited Matt Rogers, Machine Trades Instructor, ATC, to visit Mazak's headquarters in Florence, KY, for the Discover 2019 event," continued Oldenburg. "During this visit we were able to tour the Mazak factory and watch machines being built from the castings up. We also visited the parts and spindle rebuild center to get an understanding on how parts orders are processed and shipped overnight to customers so service technicians can repair machines as quickly as possible."

Word spread of Oldenburg's project, prompting Keith Barry from Mazak to set up a meeting to discuss Oldenburg's plans and timelines for designing the service technician program. "I explained to Keith that at a minimum, the program would be unable to begin for at least a couple of years," said Oldenburg. "Keith asked if there was any possible way that the program could start in the Fall of 2020 and what needed to be done. I informed Keith, that in order to make that happen in such a short span of time, I would need the support from Mazak, Northwest Machine and other industry leaders."

As a result of the meeting with Barry, a Steering Committee was put together that consisted of individuals from Graco, RMS Company, Command Tooling, Multisource, Dynamic Group, Morris Midwest, Mazak Corporation and Northwest Machine. "When it comes to developing a new program, unquestionably the most import part is the Steering Committee," said Oldenburg. "These individuals all come from fast paced businesses with a very high level of machine tool technology, and have years of experience and knowledge that helped us define what was needed for our high tech, fast paced manufacturing community. We then began creating the classes for the CNC Service Technician program."

The Steering Committee came up with a comprehensive two-year, 64-credit diploma program consisting of electronics, machining and service classes. Once the classes were decided upon, the Steering Committee outlined the program goals and outcomes and each individual class's learning outcomes. Oldenburg compiled all the information and created each individual course outline. Upon receiving approval from the Steering Committee, he then had Academic Affairs and Standards Council (AASC) review and ultimately give approval.

The CNC Service Technician program is slated to start August of 2020.

"Anoka Technical College is doing such an incredible job for our manufacturing community," said Bailey. "They have listened, researched, executed and excelled in areas for which manufacturing business leaders have been asking, namely, developing a pool of skilled and qualified people that businesses can hire to grow and create great careers that last a lifetime. They took what they were already good at-teaching and development-and raised it to another level. They worked with local businesses and found very creative ways to obtain the technology that businesses are using, particularly in machine tools. On a tour of their sizable facility visitors will see brand new live tooling lathes, Swiss machines, a 5-axis VMC, a twin turret/twin spindle multitasking machine and much more. This is the type of equipment that is being used all over in the industry. How great is it to know that your next hire from Anoka Tech has the hands-on experience to help you compete and grow your company? And now they will be developing people to maintain that equipment as well."

The CNC Service Technician program is a 64-credit diploma that includes technical and general education components. It provides students with the skills needed for working in the manufacturing sector or as a field service technician. Students will obtain a solid education in machine repair, industry fundamentals and electronic fundamentals. Full-time students can obtain a diploma in two years. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

For more information contact:

Anoka Technical College

1355 West Highway 10

Anoka, MN 55303


Northwest Machine

20851 Commerce Blvd.

Rogers, MN 55374


Mazak Corporation

P.O. Box 970

Florence, KY 41022-0970


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