Never Too Old to Learn: New Pratt & Whitney Employees Embark on Career Path Through Education

There is great satisfaction in the ability to create. A block of plastic or metal can be manipulated into something useful – crucial. It is a feeling David Osisek knows well.

"I feel like this brings my creativity to another level," Osisek said from a large classroom near North Berwick, Maine.

Turning nothing into something is what magnetized Osisek into machining. The Army veteran is embarking on a new career with Pratt & Whitney at the North Berwick plant.

"It's all about quality," Osisek continued, "but it's also the product and how much you can produce safely."

He feels at home here, but on this day, and for the past six weeks, Osisek has been spending some time away from one shop floor to learn on another.

"Pratt teaches you the basics for the parts that we are building that are specific to us. But here gives you that all-around knowledge," he said.

"Here" is York County Community college's new modern machine shop. Osisek is taking part in a six-week training program funded by a public-private partnership between the state and local corporations like Pratt & Whitney. York also offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science or AAS degree, or a one-year certificate.

"I always ask the question of anybody that is interested. 'Did you ever get in trouble for taking your toys apart as a kid?' And based on that answer, I can tell you if this might be for you or might not be for you," said Bob Franklin, a faculty member in the machine shop. "The Pratt & Whitney program that we have running here now is for new hires and it runs for six weeks. There's an academic component that York County provides, it's actually on-site at Pratt & Whitney. On Fridays and Saturdays for six weeks, the guys come up here and work on their machining and their hands-on skills. We do precision measurement up here, we do blueprint reading, and we do machine tool operation."

Although the partnership is less than two years old, creating an educational program to allow people to create is yielding benefits. Johnny Campbell is another new hire at North Berwick, and found his six-week session very beneficial.

"It's a pretty good opportunity to get experience like that. Most of the time, you would have to pay for it. When you come here, they are offering the program to you. If you take advantage of it, there are a lot of things you can learn," Campbell said.

As has been said, knowledge is power, but it also breeds confidence. And that's an important added ingredient for David Osisek as he enters the workplace. He now has a job where he gets to create something, while at the same time, create a future for himself.

"I love what Pratt is doing and I feel more companies should do it. (Machining) is not something people should take lightly. It's a lot harder than I even thought it would be. I thought it would be a regular production line. Drill a hole here, here, and here. I cut this, and I pass it along," he said, demonstrating his point with his hand. "It's nothing like that. A lot of technology goes into it, a lot of money, and a lot of training."

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