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2020 COVID19 Illinois Midwest NB News TMA News Bulletin

Congratulations from a distance, TMA 2020 graduates

TMA Media January 28, 2021
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From Technology & Manufacturing Association’s Nov/Dec 2020 News Bulletin – 

Absent the well-deserved pomp and circumstance in the midst of 2020’s pandemic shutdown, 38 Technology & Manufacturing Association Training and Education students completed three challenging years of studying, working full-time, and setting aside leisure time to obtain diplomas in tool & die making, CNC programming, and mold making.

Among those completing their TMA coursework this past summer were 22 graduates in Tool & Die Making, eight in CNC Programming and eight in Mold Making – all manufacturing fields that eagerly await them, their talents, and their abilities.

Normally TMA holds a ceremony providing friends and family the opportunity to honor graduating students and the employers that funded their graduates’ training and education.

Instead, this year TMA staff hand-delivered diplomas to the graduates at their worksites while members of the TMA Training & Education Department congratulated them from afar.

In reaction to the public health emergency, the TMA Training & Education Department pivoted from its in- house, hands-on training to an online program.

“I don’t think anyone could have had the foresight to foresee a pandemic of this nature come down,” said Patrick Osborne, TMA’s Vice President of Training & Education. “We were so close to wrapping up another successful school year with so many great graduates, and we just kept pushing and pushing. We were only three weeks out – but it came on too fast, too furious. We had to temporarily pull the plug for the safety of students, staff and instructors until we figured out the game plan.”

All the TMA instructors and staff pulled together and came up with a plan to finish the year – via online instruction. “I’m really proud of the team effort that helped us manufacture a way to the end,” Osborne said.

“Our students were involved in making essential components, as well as making tooling, molding and precision machine parts. Since 1925, this one may go down in TMA history as a very special class.”

Leigh Coglianese, manager of TMA’s Training & Education, agrees that the 2020 TMA graduating class is “very special” – but for a slightly different reason.

“This class is the one that started the first year I was here at TMA,” she said. “This was the first class in which I proctored every single one of their entry tests. I saw them all come in before they were even eligible for the program. I think it’s so cool I was able to watch their journey.

“I know all their names, I checked their class attendance,” Coglianese said. “I was so happy to see them cross the finish line. In the beginning it looked so far away. Now they’ve crossed it. This class is special to me,” she said.

For TMA’s Director of Curriculum and senior instructor Jack Krikorian the 2020 class brought on exceptional challenges. “It made us at TMA Training & Education think quite a bit about how to complete the year because we’re very, very hands-on here,” he said. “The team did our best to help the graduates complete the classes and the students were amazing.”

Krikorian said the TMA Training & Education staff owes this year’s graduates a lot of credit for cooperating so well with them and being particularly flexible in assignments that caused them “think out of the box.”

All of the TMA graduates are employed in the fields they are studying and were able to put to work in their places of employment the things they learned at TMA.

“It takes a lot of commitment to do this,” Krikorian said. “They report back to their supervisors – in careers that are in high demand. Their careers will never be boring. They will spend their lifetimes learning. I encourage our TMA graduates to stick with their careers. If they put in a little effort, they will never be out of a job.

“Be that person that’s eager to learn a new machine – you’ll end up wealthy and fulfilled,” he said.

And what would Leigh Coglianese say to the 2020 graduates that hold a special place in her heart?

“I’d tell them to continue to gain skills, and never stop believing in yourself and don’t stop now,” she said. “And let the company that sent you for training know how much you appreciate their support and encouragement.”

She continued. “This is just the beginning – yes, it’s a long three years and they’ve been through a lot. This has been a test of their commitment to themselves and the companies they work for. This is just the start. Manufacturing is evolving and they’ll learn more as they go along.”

And directly to this year’s TMA graduates, Osborne said, “I know you put in 506 hours of theoretical instruction, some hands-on, too. It’s a heavy lift – three years here at TMA – and I’m really proud from the bottom of my heart of what you’ve accomplished.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t have the graduation ceremony the way we’ve done it in the past when we could all celebrate. You’re always welcomed back to TMA and I’m sure we’ll be seeing you in the future,” he said.

Along with congratulations from TMA Training & Education staff Patrick Osborne, Jack Krikorian, Leigh Coglianese, and Nayhelly Caldera, TMA’s 2020 Chairman of the Board Tom Hacker extended his hearty accolades to graduates.

“On behalf of the TMA’s Board of Directors the members of the Manufacturing Education and Careers Committee, I want to congratulate each of you on the successful completion of three years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication in support of your career,” Hacker said.

“I recognize that your graduation is not the occasion that you, or any of us, envisioned at the start of the year. COVID-19 has, and will, change much of how society functions in both the near and long term. What it does not change, however, is the significance of your achievement and the valuable investment that you and your employer have made in your future.”

Hacker said the keys to successful careers in manufacturing include dedication, integrity, loyalty, a thirst for knowledge and a desire for more.

“More, not just for yourself, but for your coworkers, your employers, your friends and your family. I firmly believe that you reap what you sow – you receive what you give,” he said.

“Arrive early for work. Stay a little later if needed. Be willing to do more than expected and volunteer to help those that can benefit from your help. These attributes, together with the technical skills that you have, and will continue to develop, will open doors

for your future that you cannot yet imagine,” the 2020 TMA Board Chairman went on to say.

Despite the missing ceremony, the 2020 TMA graduates are prepared for rewarding careers in manufacturing – careers that make them in demand like few others.

From Technology & Manufacturing Association’s November/December 2020 News Bulletin available online HERE. 

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