From an early age, Devin Pink knew he wanted to join the Marines. But he didn’t know about the jobs available in the Corps, much less what he would do post-service. That’s where Max Hayes High School and the Advanced Manufacturing Practicum (AMP) played a crucial role.
Max Hayes opened up the world of machining through its vocational education program. As a magnet school in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, it features several well-stocked workshops, educators with real-world experience and partnerships with local trade organizations and manufacturers.
From the school, Devin found a career path that allowed him to channel his love of drawing into working with his hands, harnessing his creativity and skill in a way he never knew about before coming to the school.
“It was amazing, seeing all these machines, and getting to use them, find out what they can do, and challenging myself to see what I could make on them.”
Now armed with a general interest and creative outlet, the AMP Program added the final piece: real-world skills training, a supportive but challenging work experience and exposure to the realities of a workplace environment. Buschman Corporation, a Cleveland manufacturer, created AMP as a workforce development program. While the manufacturing sector continues to grow, it’s becoming more difficult to fill these well-paid positions. That’s where the AMP Program hopes to fill the gap. With a motto of “Learn, Earn & Return” the project seeks to benefit employers, student and communities through active involvement, education and a focus on giving back.
A perfect example of the “Return” part of the Amp motto, Devin became aware of AMP when Devonta Edmonds, the program’s first participant, returned to Max Hayes to speak about his experiences. Having also chosen to serve in the military, the two hit it off, and Devonta encouraged Devin to get his grades up so that he could apply to AMP.
Then the first hurdle presented itself – the interview. After doing several mock interviews as part of his studies, Devin was sure a “real-life” interview would be much more difficult. Instead, he was surprised to find a welcoming environment that was less focused on testing and quizzes, and more concerned with finding out who he was, what his skills and needs were and how he might develop as a part of the company and program.
Once accepted, Devin assumed he would start out sweeping floors and fetching coffee. Instead, he worked on one of the company’s Bridgeport Mills, a tool he was familiar with from school but that still presented a challenge.
Treated like an employee from day one, Devin learned the expectations of quality, preparation and accountability associated with being a part of the production process, and has rotated to other machines and departments. With each move, Devin is paired with a new coach, while still having the help and support of his core group. He is now working on machines and processes he never knew existed in school, and bringing this knowledge back to his teachers and fellow students.
Nearing the end of his time with the program, Devin has excelled in the workplace and at school. Since joining the AMP, the teacher who oversees the CNC and Precision Machining program at Max Hayes has noticed a remarkable increase in confidence and focus. “It’s night and day.”
Devin has also brought that focus to his military career. He now knows he wants to be a diesel engineer with the Marines. And after his service, he plans to return to Cleveland and work at Buschman. “I already told the machinist that I want his job,” Devin jokes.
Proof of this commitment and change? On a recent winter day, when school was canceled and his friends were sleeping in and playing video games, Devin demonstrated his dedication. He walked more than a mile in sub-zero temperatures to get to work on time, not considering that with school out and his normal transportation suspended, he might not be required to work.