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Portland Press Herald: Thornton Academy internships introduce kids to manufacturing

NTMA mentioned in Portland Press Herald article.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tom Teague had never been inside a factory until his Thornton Academy class toured Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick plant, which, among other things, makes parts for some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world, including Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 and F-22 fighter jets. Now, he’s working at the plant following an internship at Pratt & Whitney in collaboration with Saco-based Thornton, an independent school serving grades 6 through 12.

The 2-year-old internship program at Thornton, the first in the country to use a hands-on curriculum developed by a machinists’ association, is trying to find good jobs for its graduates and fill a gaping hole in Maine’s workforce 

Teague, who now works full time for the company, isn’t as intimidated as he was the first time he stepped through Pratt & Whitney’s doors as a student.

“When I first started, I was scared to come into a huge machine shop,” he said. “This is my first job. I’m glad I did it.”

Thornton’s program combines an online curriculum from the National Tooling & Machining Association, or NTMA, with hands-on experience at Pratt & Whitney and other Maine manufacturers, including Yale Cordage and Arundel Machine Tool, to expose students to options of a career in manufacturing – an area in which Maine needs skilled labor. Pratt & Whitney, which has 1,700 employees, has more than 50 positions open in North Berwick, while the state as a whole has more than 700 positions open in all aspects of manufacturing, according to the job site

Read more here