journeyman/machinist certification,non-union?
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  1. #1
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    Question journeyman/machinist certification,non-union?

    Is there a way to get this journeyman's card or certification if you are not in the union.
    I have worked at the same shop for over 10 years.

    My shop may close down in the next few years, and I think I need this to get a job.

    How important is this certification and how can I get this as a non-union worker.
    I wish I was a union member but this shop doesn't have a union. I am on good terms with my boss so I can ask him to write me a letter explaining my skills and experience if this would help.

    How should I proceed??

    Thank you for any advice you may have.

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    I'm no expert in the subject, but I am going through the apprentice process right now (I started the program). There's certainly no union involved, or I'd have ran screaming away from it.

    The whole process is regulated by your individual state's department of labor. Contact them for definitive answers.

    At least in Pennsylvania, it works like this: There's a variety of work categories you must log time under. Being a "mill guy" or "lathe guy" for a hundred years won't work. Grinding, lathes, mills, and any other machines your company has, you need to have time logged against. Both CNC and manual are preferred by the state. There's some class time involved, too. If you have documented and recorded enough time in each category and have taken the requisite classes, the apprenticeship can be retroactive.

    But practically, 90% of our people who have interest in getting their papers do not have anywhere near the necessary hour requirement in all the categories. At best, most are one or one and a half years into a four year stint. Take our lathe dude for example: Has some EDM experience, and seven years of lathe work/machining cell experience. All that's only one year of "apprentice" time. He just has ~20,000 hours logged in a 1200 hour category. That kind of schedule just doesn't make sense for most businesses.

    Sort of tangental, if you have experience you likely won't need a card. They're falling out of favor, and fewer places are doing apprenticeship programs. Our best folks do not have journeyman's cards, and several "senior" machinist positions have been hired to people without any formal training. If you look at job postings, most say nothing about being a journeyman, and instead stipulate some minimum experience for the job. That is what you should concern yourself most with.

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    I'm not aware of it having to do with unions.

    I know that here when you have I believe its 5 years in the trade(may be a bit more) you can challenge the journeyman test. But General procedure is to join the apprenticeship program once out of college and do the in school theory of 5 weeks each year, until you have a total of 8000+ practical work hours and a log book signed.

    Some places have their own "special" apprenticeship program that they like to call it and sometimes doesn't seem to apply to the rest of the world. That may be the type some unions have?


    Reason to have it? its another piece of paper, usually doesn't hurt to have it. If the next guy applying for the job has it and you don't. Even if he may not be 10% of the machinist you are, he may still get the job.
    Then again some places don't care and only want to see what you can do and that you don't BS. I know as a small shop owner if I was to hire someone it would take a lot more than a journeyman card to convince me.

    There are shops who don't want certified people(unless willing to work for free), but you wouldn't want to work there anyway.

    You may want to call a trade school near you, they should have the contacts if it operates anything like it does in Canada.

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    It's not true that you have to work in a union shop to get a journeyman's card.

    In the US journeyman's card are issued either by your state bureau of apprenticeship and training or the US department of labor bureau of apprenticeship and training. The shop you work in has to sign up to participate in the apprenticeship program. For your boss to sign off on an apprenticeship he has to be a journeyman or employ journeymen in the trade you want to get a card in. For a tool & die maker it is 8000 hours plus related schooling. Here in the Midwest most shops when they go to hire they want either a journeyman's card or eight years experience. Having the card is the better choice because it will be excepted without question.

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    For non-union work, you don't need any 'card' or 'certification'.
    Just know your stuff.

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    Default journyman card

    A couple of years ago I retired from working 40 years as a machinist. Never had a card, the union I was in didn't use them. If I was silly enough to want to get another job, I could be working working next week in a number of places. Maybe in your area a card would be a help, but in 40 years, I've never even known a machinist with a card.
    lwbates

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    Smile

    thank you. All of your replies are much appreciated.
    jeff

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    Reading all of these replies does highlight the problem we in the US have with all of our skilled trades. Everybody is somewhat right but mostly wrong.
    Over the years the US has relied on a steady supply of skilled labor from Europe.Period.
    Our government had a immigration policy of first selecting people that could be of value to an industrialized nation like the US. Europe with it's established training programs for all trades whether they were butchers, bakers, machinists, tool and die makers or carpenters was the preferred source. All of these countries had regulated training program lasting from three to four years. Companies providing the training had to follow a training schedule set by the trade guilds or the industrial chamber in a particular country whether it be Sweden, Germany or Switzerland among others. This training was concluded with a final test which was to be the proof that a party providing the training had fulfilled it's part of the training contract. Upon a successfully completion of the test, a Journeyman's
    certificate was issued. The US relied on these immigrants to refresh the supply of skilled workers.
    Well the boats from Europe are no longer coming.
    .
    President Kennedy changed all of this. Under his administration the policy was changed to allow first of all family members of people already in the US to immigrate, regardless of what they would contribute to the country. While his goals may have been noble - the results can be see today with millions of people having little or no training to contribute to an industrial country trying to make a living by providing in many cases a service that is far below anything needed to sustain an industrialized nation.
    This could change in the next twenty or so years. Many of these new immigrants are eager to learn - but here is the big problem. Where are they going to get their training?
    Why is it that I have to hope for the best if I hire a bricklayer or carpenter? For all I know he may have been building Bamboo huts in Timbuktu.
    We used to say:" Let us build it and than we will fix it". We no longer have that luxury as the Automobile Industry found out.
    The US Government has failed to address the situation by not deciding what skills are needed to keep the US supplied with a skilled labor force and establish a nationwide program to make sure we will be able to continue as an industrialized nation.
    Remember - once the skills are gone and they are going fast, there is no way to go back.
    As for training programs provided by Unions etc. . Mostly these are on the job training with some classes. There is no nationwide standard or testing to insure the quality of these programs.
    This is not to say that some gifted and enterprising people can not rise to the top in a trade. It is just that the percentage is very low.

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    I've known lot's of folks with a journeyman's card that could not even be considered machinists.

    I don't think I would put to much stock into having a card if I were you.

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    Default journeyman

    Juergenwt,
    I can't speak for any trades other than my own (manual machinist) or areas of the country other than my own (west coast). But if your speaking for those, your talking out of your ear. As to a steady supply of skilled people from Europe, the only European immigrant I've ever worked with in my career (40 years), was one guy whose origins I won't mention because I don't think most Germans are like that. He wasn't much of a machinist and was finaly fired because he couldn't stay sober. We have had good machinists from Mexico, and we even let in a few from California occasionaly.
    Don't worry about the skill level of the journeymen I know, I would put them up against the best the rest of the world has to offer with no worries.
    If you are having to "hope for the best" when hiring skilled tradesmen, it probably reflects more on your interviewing skills and the pay rate you offer than whether you see a european journeymans card. Without meaning to offend, you sound like you have some political issues.
    lwbates

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdj View Post
    How should I proceed??

    Thank you for any advice you may have.

    I went through this over twenty years ago in the downriver Detroit area.

    At the very least, I would get that letter from your current employer, and any former employer. It should list in detail the machines ran and type of work performed and tolerances held. Also list any misc. tasks such as tool sharpening, maintenance performed, ect. I would get this letter notorized. I think that was a requirement when I got my card.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by Crash Not; 04-11-2008 at 04:42 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Good luck. Juergenwt

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    Default issues

    Upon re-reading my last post, I guess it sounds like I have political issues. Sorry
    lwbates

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    Default associate

    what about a associate degree in machining etc. Our shop had cards , but they were only good in our plant. Thats the way the company wanted it. No one had any value outside of the company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben80 View Post
    what about a associate degree in machining etc. Our shop had cards , but they were only good in our plant. Thats the way the company wanted it. No one had any value outside of the company.
    Who offers an AS degree in machining? I'd have taken that in a heartbeat before I got started on mechanical engineering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdj View Post
    Is there a way to get this journeyman's card or certification if you are not in the union.
    I have worked at the same shop for over 10 years.

    My shop may close down in the next few years, and I think I need this to get a job.

    How important is this certification and how can I get this as a non-union worker.
    I wish I was a union member but this shop doesn't have a union. I am on good terms with my boss so I can ask him to write me a letter explaining my skills and experience if this would help.

    How should I proceed??

    Thank you for any advice you may have.
    I do the hiring for my company, while I will interview someone with a journeymanís card, I tend to find the people that have them are not as good as the people that donít with the same amount of experience. While apprenticeship programs are regulated by the state, itís up to the company to train their people, and most fall short.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bdubb0301 View Post
    I do the hiring for my company, while I will interview someone with a journeymanís card, I tend to find the people that have them are not as good as the people that donít with the same amount of experience. While apprenticeship programs are regulated by the state, itís up to the company to train their people, and most fall short.
    It's possible the op has since retired given this thread is a bit aged....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hodge View Post
    It's possible the op has since retired given this thread is a bit aged....
    Someone will see it... I did lol

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    Yes, I am now retired for 20 years. After over 45 years working as a tool and die maker on both sides of the Atlantic. The last 20 years as a toolroom foreman for a large corporation. In the Chicago area we had tool and die shops on every corner and now we have fast food places. The machine tool industry in the US used to be No 1 in the world. Now it is mostly gone.

    A lot can be blamed on the government policy of not interfering with privat industry when it comes to maintaining and promoting
    skills that are essential for an industrial nation like ours. So now we have the worlds best pizza. Not too bad.
    What I said 12 years ago still applies.

    Question for 0301:" You say you do the hiring for your company. What kind of skilled help are you hiring? If the people you are interviewing are skilled tradesmen what are your qualifications? If you are the owner - that is a different story.

    The last kick and the one that really killed our great machine tool industry came from the Gipper (Pres. Reagan). When on the advise of his
    staff he killed the move to metric. Now we are still fumbling everyone for himself. Just like our national training programs.
    The few skilled metal workers still out there are getting prints that are supposed to be in metric but are nothing but a piece of converted crapp because most designers are imperial trained and have very little Knowledge about how to draw in metric.
    So it is left up to computer translation to make the drawing metric. The result in most cases is nothing but garbage. Out in the shop - the craftsmen will take these "metric" prints and use 25.4 to convert back to inches. They will do this even if metric is available on machines and measuring tools. Imperial is what they are familiar with and that is the way until retirement. Hopefully the new generation of engineers will be trained to think in metric but with imperial all around - I don't think so. It has to start in first grade.

    I watched the last mars mission and now finally everything was metric. From speeds to force to heights etc. even the weather. We must be the only country in the world that can land on Mars but still has to translate everything to imperial for it's people to understand. Oh, what a world we live in. Btw. I have nothing against 12 inch pizza. Still the best anywhere.
    I think I will stick around for a few more years and see what happens. Juergenwt
    Ps.: 25.4 is just a small part of metric. The whole ISO is metric and that requires a lot more than 25.4
    Engineers, designers and tradesmen have to understand the whole system - it is a lot easier than imperial wich most people will never
    learn.

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    Iíve been a machinist since I was 16. Iím now 74 and the world has really changed in all those years. What I was in high school in the early 1960ís they taught metal shop, wood shop, electronics and several other trades. Now days these trade classes arenít even offered in high school. If they are offered itís very hard to take them.

    My son was in high school in the 90ís and wanted to take metal shop. He went to one of the few schools that still had shop classes. He was told by his counselor that he was to smart to take shop classes. The school only has those classes for kids who have such bad grades they wonít graduate. They figure if they put those kids in shop classes they will get a decent grade and will maybe get a diploma.

    I used to be the foreman at a machine shop and did the hiring. Itís hard to find anyone that wants to do any crafts and actually cares about what they are doing and takes pride in their work. Kids today just want to sit in front of a computer screen all day and get their paycheck.

    I finally got fed up trying to find descent help and went ahead and retired. I have a small machine shop here at home and take on small jobs to augment my social security check which doesnít go far today. Seems like Iím working more now than I was when I had a ďreal jobĒ.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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