Two civilian employees with the U.S. Navy are among the nation’s first Additive Manufacturing Technician apprentices.
The two apprentices – Cesar Molina and Jacob West – are participating in an Additive Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship through Apprenticeship Works at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI). They work at Southwest Regional Maintenance Center at Naval Base San Diego, which provides ship maintenance, technical support and training for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Molina and West are expected to complete their Additive Manufacturing apprenticeships in less than two years. Meanwhile, they are already training Sailors in how to design for additive manufacturing and how to operate 3D printers. The Navy is developing a list of parts approved for 3D printing with plans to install 3D printers on ships to reduce lead time in ordering supplies and to replace obsolete parts.
RCBI’s Apprenticeship Works program launched the nation’s first Additive Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship in fall 2018 with input from partners America Makes, Tooling U-SME and the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers.
RCBI also partners with Applied Systems and Technology Transfer (AST2) of Youngstown, Ohio, to offer a free pre-apprenticeship for the nation’s veterans and active duty military. Molina and West participated in the pre-apprenticeship before starting their apprenticeships in additive manufacturing.
Apprenticeship Works is partially supported by an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Manufacturers in 18 states have partnered with Apprenticeship Works on the implementation of registered apprenticeship programs in 20 occupations.
Since 2009 RCBI has designed and developed 3D Printing processes, courses and workshops that meet manufacturing supply chain needs.
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The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) delivers expertise and innovative solutions with leading-edge technology to advance manufacturing and entrepreneurship.