By Phil Eatherton
After spending a summer working in the ductile iron foundry, Austin Lemke changed his focus at school and realized he had a unique opportunity. Austin worked at Waupaca Foundry in Marinette, WI while he attended Northeast Wisconsin Technical College from 2011-2014, then changed his focus from welding to a career as an electrician. He started working in the core room, but volunteered to work general maintenance every other weekend.
“The people I worked with were easy to get along with, they were fun but they were also hard workers,” Austin said.
The summer program was an opportunity to earn money for school and the foundry worked with him to fit his hours around his class schedule. “It really helped support me while I was going to school and I didn’t come out of school with a bunch of debt,” he said.
He learned about how a strong work ethic is needed on the job and he learned that jobs within the foundry are much more than production line jobs. “There’s a lot of opportunity to move up within the company,” he said.
Most importantly, he learned that the foundry processes, technology and systems are so specialized it is critical for the Foundry to train their own employees. “As an electrician, we cover the entire plant. Had I walked in without any knowledge of how things worked, it would have made my job a lot more difficult,” he said.
Austin plans on taking advantage of continuing education offered through the foundry but credits the summer help program with getting him started in his career.
The Summer Help Program at Waupaca Foundry provides valuable work experience and an insight into the variety of careers in the metalcasting industry. Students interested in summer employment at Waupaca Foundry are encouraged to apply. To learn more and to apply, visit http://bit.ly/WFSummerJob.