Growth Manufacturers Case Study
Can-Do Attitude & Networking Delivers New Job Opportunity
"What is most impressive to me about Milton (Lopez) was that he used the last day of the Lean training (held at OFS Optics) as an opportunity to make connections and communicate his interest in their company. I don't think enough job seekers either see or take advantage of these types of opportunities, which can mean the difference between being employed vs. unemployed."
-- Sharyn McLaughlin, Career Pathways Coach, Workforce Central and North Central MA Career Centers
A group of unemployed individuals from the Massachusetts More Skilled Workers Program*, funded by the United States Department of Labor, was participating in a training event hosted by OFS Optics, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. On this particular day, OFS Optics was also participating in a Job Fair through the Workforce Central Career Center - Southbridge and had posted information about a specific position they hoped to fill.
Milton Lopez arrived at OFS for the "Lean in the Fast Lane" team-building event being put on by Ken Bouchard's Race to Victory Lane and the MassMEP. During the training, teams of people work on continuous improvement, communication, and team building skills as they perform the duties of a pit crew on an actual NASCAR car. While on break, Milton approached one of the facilitators with a dilemma. He knew that his attendance at the event was mandatory but at the same time he had wanted to go to the career fair and learn more about the job OFS was advertising. He wondered if it would be appropriate to leave his resume with someone in Human Resources while he was there at the OFS facility.
The company was happy to take the resume and direct it to the proper people for consideration. Milton was invited back to OFS for an interview a few weeks later.
On August 5th Milton Lopez became an employee of OFS Optics. He is now a Production Specialist Level 2, works third shift in the Draw Department, and "is fitting in wonderfully," said HR Manager Jocelyn Callis. "In fact, we had our annual employee barbeque recently and Milton really got into it. He brought a karaoke machine and got everyone going. What a great personality."
According to Callis, Milton is making a good home for himself at OFS and doing very well. Producing fiber is a very different type of job than he has had in the past. His mechanical aptitude along with his knowledge of the lean tools, were solid assets in his favor coming in to the position. His positive, "can-do" attitude also goes a long way!
"I am lucky to be hired by such a great company," said Lopez. "So far, everything is going well. I have a very good trainer and great people around me who are always supportive and willing to help. I feel like I have been here for years."
"We are really happy that he has joined the OFS team and are looking forward to having him grow with us," added Callis. "Milton is quickly moving up the learning curve. He is working full time with some over-time hours and trains easily because he picks things up very quickly. He asks good insightful questions, retains information and applies the right tools"
"OFS feels a lot like another good company I worked for in the past," shared Lopez. "They make different products, but the lean environment, principles, and culture are similar. The focus is on safety and quality and on always trying to get better at what we do. I'm proud to be part of this (OFS) team. I still have a lot to learn, but I know I will do fine because when you enjoy your job you never work a day in your life!"
Lopez is developing the skills he needs to draw fiber, a process involving blanks of pure glass that are heated to about 2,000˚C (3,600˚F). This forms a glass thread that is cured and treated, and then pulled or drawn at a precise pace and tension to form optical fibers. It takes quite a while to get up to speed and learn how to handle things safely and work around the furnaces. He is doing all the right things and OFS Optics is very pleased with his progress.
As a benefit to having hired an employee from the Massachusetts More Skilled Workers Program, OFS is eligible to receive wage reimbursement from the DOL grant, as well as qualifies for the state of Massachusetts' Hiring Incentive Training Grant Program (HITG). Through this program, companies receive reimbursement incentives to cover training costs for hiring individuals that have been unemployed for six months or more. (The time is waived if the new hire is a veteran.) http://www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/business-training-support/wtfp/hitg/
"Not only did we get a great employee, but the DOL and state will reimburse us for his wages during his on the job training here," added Callis. "I would say this was a win all the way around."
For more information about the Massachusetts More Skilled Workers Program or the Advanced CNC Training program, contact Lisa Derby Oden at Mass MEP 508-831-7020 ext 15.
* The Massachusetts More Skilled Workers Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration. Employers who hire program graduates are eligible for a $10-per-hour wage reimbursement for a specified time frame to offset the cost of on-the-job training. Most candidates also qualify for the state's Hiring Incentive Training Grant ($2,000) for training veterans or residents unemployed for six months or more.