Matt Dresbach of LaSalle made a pivotal career decision less than a year ago, and it’s already paying dividends.
A 2012 graduate of LaSalle-Peru Township High School, Dresbach enrolled in IVCC’s criminal justice program as a freshman before changing his mind and enrolling in general education courses last fall.
This spring he opted for the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program and soon after earning the certificate in May was hired by American Nickeloid in Peru. Today he’s “slitting” (cutting metal) at the factory on the 3 p.m. to midnight shift.
“I am very happy I made the choice I did,” said Dresbach, 20. “There is a lot of opportunity at our company, and if you get in now you’re going to be able to learn from the older guys.”
The CPT, an entry-level certificate developed at the request of manufacturers, can be completed this fall, and as Dresbach’s story illustrates, will potentially lead to employment at one of the 14 companies endorsing the certificate.
American Nickeloid Vice President and General Manager Mike Stariha said Dresbach has performed well in his first months on the job.
“He’s very bright,” Stariha said. “Given his solid foundation and the fact over 80 percent of our workforce will be older than 55 by year’s end, his upward potential is limitless.
"CPT gave him the solid safety and math basics he needed to quickly get up to speed,” Stariha said. “An added bonus was that he was able to tour the facility as part of the program, giving him a very good idea of what he was getting into.”
Starting wage range for an entry-level technician is $11-$21 per hour plus health insurance “and ample opportunity for advancement within the company,” said IVCC Business Training Specialist Jennifer Scheri.
“For people with technical skills, there are openings now and over the next five-to-seven years – especially with the number of projected retirements,” Scheri said.
“American Nickeloid was a driving force behind the creation of the CPT program,” she said. “Matt’s hiring shows the benefits of business/education partnerships and demonstrates what community colleges are all about.”
Total cost for the 16-credit, financial aid-eligible CPT is $2,962, and students can continue to work while in the program. A total of seven students are enrolled in CPT this fall, and many will qualify for a new scholarship sponsored by four local companies, including American Nickeloid.
The Illinois Valley Manufacturers Scholarship will provide up to 10 $1,500 awards per year for students enrolling in CPT this fall. Applications are available in the Foundation office, Room C202, or can be downloaded at www.ivcc.edu/cpt. To speak to someone, call 815-224-0547.