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Crafting Futures: The Machinist Apprenticeship

With the help of: Kansas Manufacturing Solutions


Started by Jerry McGonigle in 1973, Machine Design Services was purchased by Mark and Kristy Kidd in November 2018. The new owners kept the business in South Hutchinson, Kansas, its location since 2001. The Kidds continue to serve the existing customer base with new parts and repairing/refurbishing components. The new owners also expanded the business into contract manufacturing for both large and small production runs. Machine Design Services provides specialty machining services, such as milling, turning, grinding, wire EDM and welding, along with industrial repair and cryogenics, as well as prototyping and reverse engineering. 

The Challenge

Machine Design Services is a small business. For a small machining manufacturer with limited resources and a small employee headcount, every day brings a unique set of challenges. With a lean team, each member wears multiple hats, juggling tasks from design to production to customer service. Machine Design Services needed a method to obtain new talent for their manufacturing team while creating a future pipeline of employees, within their limited resources, and turned to KMS, part of the MEP National Network™, for help.
KMS and Hutchinson Community College helped us develop a powerful apprenticeship program. The benefit of what we received is great, but our apprentice, now a machinist, received a huge benefit as well. If we are unable to advance his wage, he could go to any manufacturing firm and command a high starting rate.  In several companies, he is more than qualified for a maintenance mechanics position too.  He has skills and options for a career, not just a job.
— Kristy Kidd , Co-Owner

MEP's Role

Kansas Manufacturing Solutions worked with its subrecipient partner, Hutchinson Community College, to support the standing-up of a machinist apprenticeship program for Machine Design Services. Apprenticeships offer a structured way to develop specific skills needed within a company. Additionally, apprenticeships provide cost-effective solutions for skills development, enabling manufacturers like Machine Design Services to adapt to market demands while preserving their legacy of craftsmanship. This ensures a pipeline of skilled workers tailored to the company's needs.

Many machinist apprenticeships have a limited scope, offering a focus mostly on CNC operation. Machine Designs Services’ apprenticeship program was designed to go above and beyond, providing experiences to expand the apprentice’s capabilities so he knew how to create a part, start to finish.

Besides the development of the apprenticeship program, there was a necessary process Machine Design Services had to understand and work through to become a Registered Apprenticeship (RA) sponsor. This included applying to the state of Kansas and being approved. Tracking their apprentice’s progress is also a requirement of the program. With guidance and support, their apprenticeship program was able to move forward as planned.

Created April 24, 2024, Updated May 16, 2024