Rotochopper has been busy this spring hosting tours to both high school and college students. The Melrose High School Planning Your Future class and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College welding program visited Rotochopper during March and April.
A group of eight students from Melrose High School toured Rotochopper’s manufacturing facility during the last week of March as part of their Planning Your Future class. All students are in their senior year looking to explore different career opportunities available after graduation. This class helps the students prepare for their future after high school whether that is joining the workforce or furthering their education.
Rotochopper Production Manager, Keith Burg, led the group through the facility, stopping to highlight areas of interest including the flame table, plate processor, press brakes, robots and different production and assembly areas. Questions asked during the tour included: what does a screen do (sizes the material being run through the grinder), what type of training do we receive on the equipment we have installed in our facility recently (our employees helped the companies set up the equipment and the vendor sent out their trainers to train our operators), what do our machines grind (pallets, trees, shingles, and other wood waste), and why we utilize vending machines for supplies (allows us to keep track of inventory and stocking options from the vendors).
The class teacher, Jonathan Nietfeld said, “The Melrose High School senior students in their Planning Your Future class thoroughly enjoyed their experience touring Rotochopper. They especially enjoyed seeing former Melrose grads working in a variety of positions there. The purpose of the Planning Your Future class is to expose 12th graders to community focused businesses that have a variety of job openings with different levels of education and training needed right here in central Minnesota. Rotochopper provides wonderful opportunities for these graduates!”
The two sections from the welding program at St. Cloud Technical and Community College consisted of 22 students and 2 instructors, Eric McAllister and Chuck Haus, toured Rotochopper during the third week of April. One section will graduate in May, while the other section of students will graduate in August and are looking for a place to call home after the program is complete. The class toured the Rotochopper facility in two groups led by Keith Burg and Chad Molitor, Rotochopper Shop Supervisor. The students had questions about how long it takes to manufacture a machine from start to finish, (which varies depending on size of the equipment), our air handling system and how it works to create a cleaner work environment, and the number of employees at Rotochopper (130).
Following the tour of the facility the students from both groups were able to ask questions of several Rotochopper employees who work in different areas of the company, from welding and assembly to purchasing, marketing and human resources. The students from Melrose wanted to know what type of training they needed to have to prepare for a career at Rotochopper, whether that needed to be a welding certificate from a technical college or if they could apply for a position right out of high school. “Rotochopper is open to either, attending college will give you general knowledge about welding, but the skills required can be learned on the job too, especially if you are willing to put in the effort,” said Keith Burg.
The welding program students from SCTCC had questions that were specific to the type of welding they would perform on a daily basis, opportunities for cross training in different areas of production, and hours that are currently being worked by Rotochopper employees.
Rotochopper CEO, Tosh Brinkerhoff, met with the students following the tour to answer questions and offer words of encouragement for their future endeavors.
“We are very grateful for your continued support of our welding program at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Rotochopper has been a cornerstone company in our local community in supporting our college as a whole and helping to bring local industry into our college through programs like EPIC and has supported us in providing tours of their very impressive manufacturing facility. We look forward to continue working with Rotochopper for years to come,” said McAllister.
If you know of a group that would like a tour, contact our Director of Community Relations.