"Apprenticeships have so many benefits to offer and will give you a great start into entering your career field."
Some high school students graduate senior year knowing what they would like to do in the future. Kaitlyn Huitron, a recent graduate from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, knew she wanted to continue exploring the similar career pathways of engineering and manufacturing. However, when classes became virtual due to the pandemic, her learning was cut short. But this did ignite an interest in her to learn more about the machining career pathway.
In collaboration with LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network, Kaitlyn gained an apprenticeship with Fender, the musical instrument manufacturing company, and has enjoyed her time there. In her own words, she shares her experience, what she's learned, how she's applied her course knowledge to her apprenticeship, and advice she has for other interested students.
My name is Kaitlyn Huitron, and I am 18 years old from Eastvale, California and I am completing my apprenticeship program under the ‘CNC Programmer’ pathway. I recently just graduated this past summer from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, and I was a part of the eSTEM Academy there. In the eSTEM Academy I pursued the engineering pathway where I was able to learn basic engineering principles and gain hands on training with software and programs that are currently used in the engineering field such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Fusion 360. Specifically in my Manufacturing class during my junior year is where I was introduced the CNC Machining. Once introduced we were cut short because of the pandemic, which resulted in school shutting down. Although I was not able to learn much, I knew this was a field that I was very interested and wanted to learn more about.
At Fender I am a CAD/CNC Operator and I work in the Custom Shop. My job is to make custom pickguards as well as other custom accessories for guitars. I do this using AutoCad where I am able to draft/design the pickguard with the correct specs and then I program the geometry using 2D milling operations with the correct cutting parameters in Vcarve. Once programmed I go to my machine and setup the stock on my machine bed, find my datum, and begin running the program. In my short time being there I have gained a lot of knowledge about guitars, CNC machining, as well as engineering in general.
I would tell other students who are interested in apprenticeships to go ahead and pursue them. Apprenticeships have so many benefits to offer and will give you a great start into entering your career field. For a student to land an apprenticeship they should definitely have the desire and motivation to want to work in the selected pathway. If they are actually wanting to learn and gain something from the apprenticeship, then it will make it that much more fun and easier to complete.