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Did you know that most APEX courses have a host site where associates can learn alongside business professionals? The learning that happens at our host sites are an integral part of the APEX experience and what makes the program unique.

For two years, the APEX Engineering, Technology and Robotics course has worked part-time with the host site Accumold, located in Ankeny, Iowa. This partnership helps connect APEX students with industry partners, allowing them to explore career opportunities such as manufacturing engineer, process development engineer, control systems, computer integrated manufacturing, and robotics programming and repair.

In addition to bringing student associates on site, Accumold also works in conjunction with DMACC to offer an Accumold Scholars program. This scholarship program assists students who are interested in pursuing a career within the company. Students can attend DMACC for two years while working at Accumold. In the end, they graduate with a certificate in tool and die making or in electronics/robotics. It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone pursuing a career in one of these areas.

Through this partnership, students are exposed to a variety of opportunities, including job shadowing. Job shadowing can help a student narrow down and identify a specific path they want to further explore. At Accumold, job shadowing opportunities allow students to see first hand what a career in robotics or micro-molding could entail.

Michael Girling, tool room supervisor at Accumold, assists with setting up and supervising the job shadowing experiences.

“I always jump at the chance to expose students to the type of work we do at Accumold. The job shadow experience gives them a chance to experience some of the exciting and cutting-edge technologies we offer, as well as the traditional methods used every day to produce world-class tooling. The Accumold Scholars program also has been critical in the development of our workforce,” Girling said.

First semester, four APEX associates, Eli Wright, Dawson Barnett, Tanner Williams and Luke Mortenson, were exposed to four different career paths, all within the Accumold Scholars program. These four interest areas were: CNC electrode manufacturing, new tool build, wire electric discharge machining and mold maintenance. The job shadows occurred over the span of two days, with time for questions at the end of each one.

“Most high school students would be lucky to job shadow one or two careers of interest during their entire high school career. Our associates had the chance to shadow four different careers of interest in one week! Accumold gave these aspiring professionals an incredible opportunity to understand the breadth and depth of the tool and die making career field,” said Tyler Wright, Engineering, Technology, and Robotics instructor.