The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

Filling the Skills Gap One Student at a Time w/ Matt Guse


Baby Boomers are retiring. Manufacturing is booming in 2021. And emerging generations aren't considering careers in the field.

There just aren't enough people to do the jobs that need to be done.

How will manufacturers fill the skills gap Boomers are leaving behind them?

In today's episode, I talk with Matt Guse, President at MRS Machining Company, about an actual manufacturing operation happening within the walls of a Wisconsin high school.

Here's what Matt and I discussed:

  1. How Matt launched, funded, and supported his competition
  2. The benefits of inserting a manufacturing operation into a high school
  3. Why interest in manufacturing has declined among young people and how to change that trajectory

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We're not here to teach the hard skill. We are here to teach US soft skill, because if you don't have the soft skills, I don't care who you are or industry in it can't be successful. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving midsize manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla. Seventy six reading, writing and Arithmetic and machining and welding and fabrication. That's what high school is about if you're a student at a Leiva Stroum high school in northwestern Wisconsin. We hear so much these days about the skilled labor gap problem in manufacturing. Baby boomers leaving the industrial sector workforce. Jen Zer is not wanting to join it. Well, my guests today will tell you what he's doing to change all of this through a functioning job shop that sits within the walls of a very unique high school. So let's get into it. Matt Goosey is President of Mrs Machining Company, a business that was started by Matt's father and his garage back in one thousand nine hundred and eighty six and is now owned by Matt and his wife, Vicki. In two thousand and seven, Mrs was named one of American machinist magazines top ten machine shops in the nation and more recently, a two thousand and seventeen top shop by modern machine shop magazine. Mats Proud to say that he helped get the cardinal manufacturing company inside of Aliva strum high school up off the ground by donating equipment. He continues to donate his time and expertise to cardinal on a regular basis. Matt's keenly interested in developing a new talent and ideas for the manufacturing industry and has two patents for cutting tools that he himself developed. Matt has always been very active in his community, serving on his local school board as a license official for both football and basketball and on the Chippewa Valley Technical College Machine Tool Advisory Board. He's passionate about cycling and the successfully peeked up pikes. Cycled up Pike's peak to an elevation of fourteen thousand one hundred fifteen feet. In this past year, Matt put over nine thousand miles on his bike. Matt, welcome to the show. I'm delighted to be here. Joel Awesome. Will you know, Matt, I kind of stumbled across you online recently on Linkedin and was just immediately it struck me that how interesting this, this thing you have going at with cardinal manufacturing is. I you know,...

I hear the same thing time and time again these days from manufacturing leaders about baby boomers are exiting the workforce, young people don't want to get into manufacturing and as a result of all this, paired with a booming manufacturing industry here in two thousand and twenty one, you know, it's very clear that there aren't enough people to do the jobs that need to be done. And then I see you, know, you involved in Cardinal Manufacturing, which is an actual manufacturing operation that's operating within the walls of a Wisconsin high school with the mission that reads, filling the skills gap one student at a time. And I saw this and immediately said, okay, I got to get mad on the show and here cardinals story right away. So here we are. Yeah, I started that back in two thousand and six, two thousand and seven, and I do you know, right around two thousand you know, I was in business and I personally I tried start my own school here at Mrs and. Well, where do you go look for students? And I didn't really have any luck with the schools. I just kept getting closed doors. And you know I'm a kind of guy that doesn't take no for an answer. I will find a way if I truly believe in it. So we started our own class year at Mrs and what I did is I went on to all these fast food restaurants right and there's actually a local one here in Wisconsin called calvers, and their people are so nice and they were just very pleasant and I'm like, you know, those are the guys I have to get in our shop because I know they have the work actic the skills, soft skills part of it. The rest I can teach. So I ended up hiring like six of these people out of different restaurants and I remember one was even Burger King and we brought him in here and they were they've stayed on for about three to six months, but within a year they were all gone, and I'm like cheese, there's got to be a better way. And I had a friend of mine who I meant over Menomine, and we're I got invited to a baseball game and our way down there we kept talking about this, just issues we're talking about today, and he says, I got a guy you got to meet. His name's Crik Orkowski. He's actually working part time for me. He's going, as Youwr Stout, for to get his teachers agree, and I hate spot on. He goes, well, I know he's going to Chicago and I said Hey, I'm ts and he goes yeah, that's where, that's where we're going to be, and I said, hey, all great things happened. I'm to Yuh. So we decided to meet under a banner, because I've ever been downmts. It's a pretty big place and that is such and such time, and so we finally met up and within a minute talk in this Guy Craig I'm like, Oh my gosh, this guy's a superstar. I need. You know, you just kind of get goosebumps and you talk to somebody that's really smart and focused. I have to get this guy involved in my plan of developing young talent. So he told me right now, we still going to school. When he gets done gets a job, he would committed to reaching out to me along behauld. I think it was like six months later, I get a phone call. Hey, it's the creak or Kowski. I'm over here to leave a strom and I'm going to take an over the tech edge and I'm like, well, that's only twenty miles away. Hey, I'm on board. And from there, you know, he told me it's going to be a couple of years before he gets up and going. So I invited them over and it met my dad and while my dad was really generous, he always said one hands for given, one hands for receiving. And actually by Dad got the Horse, the cart in front of the horse a little bit. And you say, Craig, what do you need? And...

...craike says, well, I like to have this, I like to have that, and my dad said, okay, you can have our scene. C Mil you can have our saw, you can have her late I wha, will wait a minute, or dad. We got to get the program up and going because it's a complete mess. So Craig knew that back of his hand and he basically went over there and started cleaning house. And that's how that's aw this whole thing developed. And I personally tell people if I wasn't a machinist or business owner, I'd probably become a school teacher because when you meet these kids, they're from broken homes, somewhere, from good homes, but they're willing to listen to it that they're eager to learn, because that's what kids need these days. You know, in one of the questions is how do you work with I don't know if they're GENZ's or gen x's or whatever, but kids want attention and that's what you have to do. So the first thing I did, and I went over there, well, I got friends with him on snapchat because I became more of a he started out being a communication tool, but it ended up being a saying in touch, you know, tool, and that's what kids are hungry for. His attention because, you know, if you don't have a father in your life, you don't have a mother and your your split homes back and forth and they seem to find trouble and you just got to see in touch with them, and that's how I got involved in it. That's kind of a long question answer to your question, but it's great and I think it's I would like you to use that as a lead in to just tell our audience a little bit about what is cardinal manufacturing first of all, and you know you kind of gave the lead into how you wound up there, but tell us a little bit about what cardinal is. Well, Carlino manufacturing and really, in a nutshell, it's my competitor. Well, like I said, if I'm threatened by a bunch of high school kids and it has a hundred percent turnover every two years and works two hours a day, I got other issues. But really it's a job shop. In all we focus on welding, a focus on machining. These jobs aren't jobs that MRS is ever going to do and create. Frankly, norman locally wants to do them because there's really no money in it. And Really, what this program does it number one, it gives a school or I've knew watches a plus and being all my years of the school board. That's the first question you're asked. The financial part of it number two. It generates a revenue for the program so we can give back and buy tools. And third of all, the kids get paid. Well, that's the thing that the kids says me. If I was a high schools to do it in the someone paid me to go to high school, I'd be up every morning and routing to go. None average they get about you. All the proper sharing is about twozero a year. But what's really nice about this is Craig is just the wonderful person and I can tell you how you can do this, but he went on all businesses and got donations and got people involved and he's got some pretty wealthy people involved in one couple of them. Actually, anybody that goes into manufacturing, their school is pretty much a hundred percent paid for. So you can go to two year Ectech college and I when you're done you have zero debt, and that's what that's big, because some people go to that four year college and then down and like why did they do this? I mean I have probably have a six of them at Mrs that went to the four year college, six year college or whatever have a hundred thousand dollar debt over their head, where these kids went through two year college making the same wage with zero debts.

So they're going out buying homes and cars and enjoying life. And then it's my main focus if I can prevent one kid from making a bad decision, because I never had that when I grew up. That's the goal. I mean it's not all about me. So you know these guys. It's a student run. I mean the machine is staring charge of making the parts, there in charge or talking in the customer. They have production coordinators, they have laid up in a lay supervisors, mill supervisors, they have marketing campaign businessperson. It's a fullblowing program and the best way to learn about it is I actually have a youtube video I could share. We do in one minutes time. It'll tell you what it's all about. But second of all, if you really want to get learning it, we have workshops like three times a year. Granted they were live, which I really enjoyed, but now the last two been virtual, which is a little bit of challenge because I'm a person that likes to meet facetoface. But so we've been doing them and you know, we charge a little bit for it, but it tells you how to start the program and how to develop day one. Do this, stay due to this and just you get to meet everybody, get to see it live and you get to see why business partners are involved, is school administrators are involved and how at all just basically evolves. anyways, Dan Connery is a super guy. He's a big support of it. He's probably my hats off to him. He's probably should deserve more credit than I I do because he's really involved in it. My ice kid around when when I see Dan it means efficient is not good, but I'll set aside. You know, he just a big support of it. He's actually personally donated, like everybody else, starting like twenty Fivezero, to the program. You know, it's what he likes to call it. He calls it Varsity shop. You know, we're most schools or like around here. Athletics are big in schools and some people go to schools for their athletics and some schools go for their things or science or whatever they're good at. And it's open enrollment now, so people are doing this and this is what cardinals known for. So a lot of people in open roll in at school, which you know here in Wisconsin you get roughly tenzero for student money wise from a state or the federal and you got twenty Kit twenty five kids open rolling. That's quite a lot of money in your budget. So from a school board side they love it and but really it's about what it really boils down to. Like me, Craig and dance say we're not here to teach the hard skill, we are here to teach a soft skill, because if you don't have the soft skills, I don't care who you are, what industry in, you can't be successful. You got to show up for work, you got to play together to a team, you got to be play Nice in a sandbox together. If you can't do that, there's no sense of teaching someone Hott Machine, how to Weld, how to fabricate, whatever you did the care maybe. So we really focus on that. And Craig, go call me up and say, mad I'm having a problem over here. Can you come over and talk? So when someone fails there, everybody kind of fails and we bring them all in in the classroom. We shot the shop down. We talked about the issue and I can tell you a ten times out of ten and them Ten Commandments. It's not a you know, it's not a religious commandments. It's a soft skill commandments and we'll find it right away. And the kids know. I'm at. Okay, is this what you're going to... in life and the career? Don't know. Okay, we're sorry, we'll figure it out. And I can give you a perfect example. They were making this part, aluminum part, and they were trying to tap a quarter twenty hole and the mill supervisor says you can't tap aluminum that big. I'm like you can tap a lumin that big, and then the two machine operators are like, oh to keep my tap keeps breaking. So I went over there and I explain to him that maybe you're your drilli got in there is a little too, too small, and what happens is it's the miners not big enough. The tap a break. So I had to show them the chart and I said this chart is like from back in the S. it's not modern. Modern tools today actually drill the size. So let's put the correct rial in and it's tap a few holes. Well, we did that and it worked. I'm like, okay, so you guys are fighting over this and not getting along and you know. So that number of the teachable moment you like to have. When I talk to kids, to you know, everybody tells me. Well, and I'll recently I was in some of the news about Cyclin fine help and never a lot of comments. Or just pay more money, pay more money. And Joel, I know more wealthy people that are really pretty wealthy, that are unhappy then I do that. People that make ends to meat every month because they love their jobs. It's not all it's about money. It's about come to a place. I want them to be here, they want to be here and we make it happy. We work together and I tell people build a culture and your other problems go go away, because my best recruiters are my employees. Matt, why do you believe there's been such a decline in interest among younger generations about entering the manufacturing workforce? That's a question that POPs up a lot lately and it's one I personally I don't can't really a hundred percent extra correctly, but we all have the same thing and all it's like it's all this dirty, dirty, grimy job. The parents don't want you, that there's no future in it, and we've gotten that word out and I think it's improved a little bit, but I just think it's what we need to get better at it. It's more technical. Running the machine isn't pushing buttons and just dialing. It's, you know, I'll tell everybody machine and you're, frankly underpaid. And then that's one thing I want to do. I mean I want to be like to hurt you, Mosler, telling people to reassure. Instead of offshore, I want to be the guy known for it's pay. These machinists paid, these wal there's what they're worth, because you're really here. You're a scientist, you're a chemist, you're an engineer, you're a programmer and you got to developed processes. Metals move, things don't pull right and we're paying, you know, we're paying at a twenty thirty range, where these kids are telling the construction electrician plumbers they're working well over thirty, and it's just not right. I'm not saying cutting it making a mistaken a two by four. Nowadays, of course that's quite expensive, but you know, you pile up a five hundred thousand dollar. Five acts as integrets. I didn't know ten two by four. I mean that's like a seventy fivezero dollar spindle or, if not worse, and people should get paid for that kind of risk and and it's very stressful. So I just don't think that's communicated enough with people out there. And then when I did, just think for your college, for Your College, you're a loser. Not Quite frankly. That's why drives me every day because when I was in school, and granted...

I wasn't the nicest person in school, I probably deserve a little bit what I deserved, but one of my teachers told me, you know, Matt, you ain't and I had no successful life, you're going to be just lowball on it and never have a career anything. And you know, that drives me every day. You know, I was kind of respected a teacher when he told me that. I'm going to really you know, that's okay. So I just don't want other student really to be like that because you know, every kid out there, anybody, has a gift and talent. Joe, we just have to help him find it. And once they find it, and I've seen it over and over and over they just blossom. I mean I can give you example. For some people this work in here. I mean we got Maddie, madd he's a wonderful lady, and I met her she couldn't say two words and she was a freshman in high school, the Cardinal. Her head was down and I said, Maddie, one day, so what's the matter, I just don't know what I'm going to do, Maddie. Well, it's gets developed a plan, because every dream or goal, a lot of plan is called failure. So, Manny, what do you want to do? A or do you want to be? Why? Like making things? I said it's it's get there. This is how we can get there. So we kind of laid out a plan and if someone were told me that day that she could scan up and speak in front of three hundred people hard, I thought you were crazy, but she does. She's a spark plug here, and me and Dan kind of fight over because Dan I always wanted to hire and I wanted to hire. So we always struggle with that. But maddie's a superstar here. I mean she's twenty one years old, runner a five acts as intergects and being the leader at twenty one years old. Joe Twenty one. I got Cole. Cole, he doesn't work here, he's actually a teacher in Minnesota. He just thought he was depressed and a loser and Craig wrapped his arm around him and ox thing you know, he's talking to people, showing people became a leader. One thing I do over their card and I'll get everybody kind of a nickname. So we always called whole Hollywood. Well, why do we call Hollywood? And I don't know if you guys know Titan Gilroy. He was on a show one day and Titan was interviewing them and ever since then he's became Hollywood. And he went on industry work out about two or three years and then he just decided, hey, I want to be like another creaker, carols key, and decided to go teaching and he's think he's as his second year and all this year's the second year of covid kind of set it back, but he he'll develop a program just like Craig did. And there's several other students that are actually becoming teachers and actually with Craig's program. And now we got tally and Tyson who both want for the program went on industry and came back and it's nice. It's just kind of reproducing itself. But no, it's all about the kids making the right crew choices. And you know another thing I tell these kids, if manufacturing isn't for you, that's fine, that's that's cool. At least now you know what you don't want to do and what you do want to do. And night there that could, I will save you a hundred thousand if you do go to for your college. And that's not it. But you always remember you can always fall back and manufacturing. I know who you are, I know where you've been, I know where you're going. So I rely me as a reference or whatever. And there's been people that have called me and hey, matt, I just this isn't nursing, this is plumbing. Is doesn't for me. I remember machine and I enjoyed making things because really, you know, I talked to kids. When I hire people, I look for like four things. I look to see if they've been involved in art, because really machining...

...fabricating his art. I look for sports. Two Sports is team player, you got work together. Music. That's that's kind of a touch one, but you know, when you're cutting ships and you hear rumbling, grumbling, it's not a good noise. You might want to put feed hold them and then on. What was the other one? Art, music, sports and math. Math, course, naturally, math's good for everybody. Those are four key touristics that I kind of stick to and that's kind of what we lean towards over there too. Matt, What Have you learned about how to communicate with what I suppose is now Gen z? Stay in touch? They're looking for attention and it seems like if you hire one, you're going to hire three or four right behind you, because they all seem like the hang together with each other. When I was growing up we did that too, but we didn't have cell phones and all this fantasy. He stopped. We just hung together, play sports together and just build that relationship. Now it's more technical. They're not so much together. They're chatting or they're texting, or is snapchatting or whatever they do. You have to be part of that that use that technology because they want attention and you know, you kind of got to go with the flow. It's sometimes it gets to be what's this old guy doing text and the teenager but you have. There's a fine liner, but you just have to stay involved in their lives and just keep them on that path, because if they go off it, they'll go off asked. I trust me. It's that's what I don't like to hear. Makes Sense, Matt you picked up where your father left off and you took over Mrs machining and kind of took it up to another level and one awards and been recognized by, you know, some pretty reputable sources and publications and Industry Organizations, and you did all this while also finding a way to be active in the community and doing some good for the world. So my question for you is, what advice can you give other manufacturing leaders that are listening right now about how to find that kind of balance? Don't be scared. You know, most people are complaining and I like I tell people, don't come to me by team here. Don't come to me with problems. Come to me resolutions. You have to you have to get outside your Eg you just they're not going to come to you. You have to go to them and just don't take no for an answer. You know, I can't tell me different schools I called on. I called on this superintendent, the principal. I got not the nothing. Nothing. Like I told you before, I don't take no for an answer. So I got in officiating football and basketball. Well, you become you know, you make a call holster, you get you get that relationship with a head coach and all of a sudden, here now he's your reference and he goes to the superintendent principle, who he works with every day, say hey, got to come and talk to this guy. And that's how you open that door. I always say, just when you do get that chance, dice, tell them, hey, you're important to me because in vite him into your shop, colder and speak. Even if you can't, just maybe throw a video and just show your presence as far as just be part of your community, because really owning a business or running a business or being a leader, you have to people got to know who you are because really, you know, like kids, they look up the heroes. You know, they got the fancy professional athletes and you...

...know some of them are kind of, you know, not the not the best hero, and I'd rather my goal is for them to let me be the hero so they can look up to me and I think all the more respect that goes that way. But don't fear it, man, just it's once you get into it, I guarantee you start getting recognition, you start seeing kids and community menaorer is Gett involved. It's just kind of a drug really in a way. Just don't sit home and Cli plant. Just don't sit in your shop, Your Business and complain about it, because that doesn't do nobody no good. That's good advice, Matt. Is there anything I didn't ask you about today that you'd like to touch on? Yeah, there's actually a quite a few. I could probably be here for another hour, but you know, first of all I'm going to talk about employment thing. You know, it's it's like we're we're inmember the back in the depressions and the S and there were no jobs and we had all these people applying. Well, that's a reverse role now. So you got to kind of think about like that, where there's all these jobs but there's no people applying. So you got to get really creative and you know, like if you're back in the S, you had to get creative to get a job or show them. Now it's just as a business owner, as a community, you have to get creative and do special things, but benefits and stuff. And the second thing is, in all there's a lot of businesses out there that I'm struggling and I've been there. I mean I've been in that this doing us for thirty s five years now, and you're going to have ups and you're going to have downs, Lord Times, High Times, but always keep your head up and there are people out there to help you. Trust me, I've had I can name I mean, I think where I'm at the day isn't when what I did. It's for people have helped me take that advice and use it good way to put a bell on him at really appreciate you doing this. Day. Was a great conversation. I really admire what you've been able to do a cardinal and finding creative, innovative ways to get young people involved in manufacturing and interested in manufacturing during a time when that interest really when what I when? I guess there really needs to be some new life breathed into the industry and there's so many interesting things happening and manufacturing, but we need to shed light on it for the younger generations to kind of draw them in. I just think it's really great what you're doing at Cardinal. So, Matt, can you tell our audience the best way to get in touch with you and where they can learn more about both Mrs machining and about Cardinal Manufacturing? Yeah, I'm on Linkedin under Matt Goosey and that's one way. Or you can reach us on our website. That's at www dot mrs machine with a c on the endcom and I'll get your message and I'm here to help me anyway I can. Feel free to reach out. Sometimes I get up in the middle of night and not my text you two or three in the morning, but that just how I am. That's all I'm wired. I mean it's twenty four seven, three hundred and sixty five for me. Well, thanks again for doing this math. This is really good conversation and yeah, everybody, please check out what cardinals doing. Look for Matt Goosey on Linkedin and hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that... never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy. You'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for BB manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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