paul patrick national apprentice week

Barron Industries Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week with First Apprenticeship Program

Paul Patrick is Barron’s first-ever registered apprentice. Patrick of Lapeer, Michigan, has enrolled in the CNC machining apprenticeship allowing him to obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally-recognized, portable credential. Barron has registered its apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure it meets national quality standards.

paul patrick is participating in the first registered cnc machining apprenticeship
Paul Patrick – Paul Patrick is participating in the first registered CNC machining apprenticeship program at Barron Industries

Barron’s four- year CNC apprenticeship includes 8,000 hours of paid on-the-job learning and another 576 hours of classroom instruction. During the training he will earn from $15-$20 per hour. Barron is funding the apprenticeship with the assistance of a $1,800 annual grant through the Michigan Works! Going Pro Skilled Labor Training program.

Patrick says became interested in becoming a CNC operator and programmer after talking a related college class.

“I’m very lucky to have this opportunity at Barron Industries,” said Patrick. “My professional goal is to become a journeyman and eventually a master so I can teach someone else some day as well as my mentor is teaching me.”

Paul Patrick receives training and mentoring from Darrin Beattie, Manager of Machining Operations

Barron’s growing business in the space satellite and defense industries are especially exciting to Patrick. Using the investment casting process, the company manufactures engineered metal components for aerospace, defense, energy and other commercial industries.

“This opportunity is huge”, he said. “You’re not going to make a lot of money sitting home and collecting a paycheck which a lot of young people want to do… when you learn a skill you can become something much more than you ever thought you could when you were in high school.”

Patrick’s on-the-job training will teach him to operate and program the many types of CNC machines at Barron including mills and lathes, as well as the most advanced 5 Axis CNC machining center. His classroom instruction at Oakland Community College will include courses in everything from trigonometry to G&M Code and CNC Programming.

Patrick works at a CNC mill
Patrick works at a CNC mill

With the current skilled labor shortage across the country, Barron hopes to recruit many more employees like Patrick.

 “If we succeed in attracting and training the required people we anticipate a growth rate of 10-15 percent in 2022,” said president and CEO Bruce Barron.  “However, our true growth potential is inevitably dependent on our ability to attract new skilled workers, and train our incumbent employees.” 

Over 30 percent of Barron’s workforce has been at the company for more than ten years and are now approaching retirement age. 

“In order to replace them, Barron aims to continue the advancement of current employees by providing them with the skills and certifications necessary for higher-level supervisory and technical roles,” said Barron.

The company has been successful in meeting its recruitment and training goals through the assistance of the Michigan Works! Going Pro Talent Fund. In 2021, Barron hired and trained 35 employees for a variety of positions including foundry and mold technicians, metal finishing specialists, CNC machinists, quality control and other general labor roles that required no previous experience. The company has applied for Going Pro funding to fulfill additional training needs in 2022.

“The training has allowed the company as a whole to become more competitive in serving its existing industries and breaking into new areas such as defense and commercial opportunities in near-earth and low orbit space,” said Barron.

The company has played a part in State efforts to attract these growing industries by participating in related industry organizations like the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) and the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan ( AIAM). Barron exhibited at MAMA’s North American Space Summit and took part in  AIAM’s Women of Aerospace virtual conference and Legislative Day when aerospace suppliers from across the state travelled to Lansing to promote the aerospace industry to lawmakers.

Barron is also part of the state efforts to promote Industry 4.0 by joining Automation Alley’s Project Diamond, the country’s largest 3D printing marketplace and network. This partnership has allowed the company to acquire a new 3D printer to expand our production of a variety of industrial parts and products. Barron is also ahead of the curve when it comes to cyber-security technology. With assistance from the U of M Economic Growth Institute, Barron was one of the first defense company supplier to achieve NIST 800-171 Cybersecurity Certification.

But Barron’s expansion doesn’t stop there. In the past year the company has spent more than half a million dollars in new technology which improves quality and increases production capacity.  Barron is also planning to further expand capacity by adding a new 20-thousand square foot machining and inspection facility to produce complex components for the aerospace, defense and space satellite industries. At the same time, the company is expanding its digital marketing efforts to increase domestic and international sales.

Barron has operated a family owned metal casting business for almost a hundred years. What began as a Detroit foundry producing 5 to 60-ton sand castings has evolved into a global precision casting company with the most advanced vertically-integrated manufacturing processes.

After founding Motor and Machinery Castings in 1923, Joseph Barron personally delivered parts to Henry Ford. In 1983, the Barron family acquired a 13- thousand square foot investment casting plant with nine employees in Oxford and expanded the company by acquiring a 65-thousand square foot manufacturing facility in 1990 and a third 10-thousand square foot plant in 2019. Barron Industries now has more than 70 employees.

About Barron Industries

Barron Industries is an award-winning full-service manufacturer of precision cast parts, machined components, and complete assemblies. We have customers and manufacturing partners across the globe. Barron offers complete turnkey product manufacturing of components for Aerospace, Defense, Space, Automotive, Oil and Gas, Nuclear, Medical, and other commercial industries. Capabilities include design for manufacturing, rapid prototyping, CNC machining, non-destructive testing, plating, painting, assembly, laser etching, and custom packaging. More than 200 ferrous and non-ferrous alloys poured include Class II armor, stainless steels, tool steels, aluminum, cobalt, and nickel-based alloys. We are AS9100D and NADCAP Accredited for digital radiography, penetrant testing and welding.