Nathan Gray, 20 years old
Medina County Career Center Graduate
Tool & Die Apprentice, LuK USA, LLC
How did you learn about apprenticeship?
I learned about the apprenticeship at LuK through my dad, who works there.
What or who inspired you to pursue apprenticeship?
Many things inspired me to become an apprentice, like learning everything hands-on and getting paid to learn, but most of all, seeing how successful the tool and die trade has made my dad.
Where do you work and what is your role?
Our apprenticeship program at LuK has rotations into different areas of the shop. Currently my rotation is in stamping, where I’m being trained to run a 2900 metric ton transfer press.
What does a “day in the life” look like for you?
Currently my “day in the life” involves a welding class and a jigs and fixtures class and then going to work for eight hours.
What surprised you most about apprenticeship?
What surprised me most about the apprenticeship program was that LuK will pay for unlimited tuition while going through their apprenticeship.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is definitely learning something new every day.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is sometimes balancing classes with work.
What did it mean to you to receive a paycheck while training?
Receiving a paycheck while still in training is definitely a huge bonus to my job, instead of being in debt from student loans when I’m finished I will actually have some money saved up.
Would you recommend apprenticeship to your closest friends?
Yes, I have recommended the apprenticeship to some friends who are still in high school.
How do you balance work and school?
Balancing work and school is definitely a challenge but when class schedules come out, I try to make a personal schedule of hours to work and when I will be in class to make sure I achieve my 40 hours per week.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your time as an apprentice?
The biggest obstacle I have overcome so far is taking a college math course.
What’s the best way to attract more talented apprentices like yourself?
Finding talented workers is difficult, but I feel as if today’s young people are best informed by the internet so social media is a very good place to start advertising. Also, the better the pay, the better the workers. “Good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good”.
What else would you like to tell us about your experience?
All in all so far I have learned a lot and can’t wait to continue to develop and one day teach apprentices myself.
Paul Gray – Nathan’s Parent
How did you and Nathan learn about apprenticeship?
I originally heard about tool and die apprenticeship from my father-in-law. I am now a tool and die maker and my son showed interest so I recommended he pursue a great opportunity at LuK.
What sparked his interest in apprenticeship?
I truly think he noticed his older brother and saw a good opportunity to have a career in something where he could learn “hands-on” and have a defined future.
Where does Nathan work and what is his role?
He is currently in the tool and die apprenticeship role at LuK is in his stamping rotation.
Initially, did you support the idea of apprenticeship?
100%, in fact, I encourage young adults to do apprenticeship whenever I have the opportunity since it is a great way for young people to have a future. One thing I always encourage is work ethic – with good work ethic, the sky is the limit.
What surprised you most about apprenticeship?
It is always a surprise how much the truly good apprentices love what they do as they learn to work with their hands and troubleshoot serious issues.
What did it mean to you that your son received a paycheck while training?
This is a great thing that comes along with apprenticeship. They earn their own money and are able to get an early start on life and responsibility.
Why did you and Nathan choose apprenticeship over a traditional college route?
Simple – it’s like a full-ride scholarship in my opinion.
Would you recommend apprenticeship to other parents?
I always do. This is a passion of mine and I am always recommending to others.
Did you have any misconceptions about apprenticeship prior to your student’s involvement?
Of course not, but one interesting thing is that roughly 12 years ago, I thought the trade might be gone before I retire. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What’s the best way to inform other parents about apprenticeship?
Find the right Tool Makers to sell this with the right attitude.
What else would you like to tell us about Nathan’s experience?
I love to see my sons being successful with hard work. It makes me a proud parent and I brag about them all the time.
A Note from Medina County Career Center
A recent study released by the Fordham Institute indicated that students who were exposed to CTE were more likely to attend college and earn higher wages. “CTE coursework is now strategic and sequenced. It entails skill building for careers in fields like information technology, health sciences, and advanced manufacturing” (Dougherty, 2016, p. 2).
About LuK USA, LLC
LuK USA LLC manufactures and supplies drive train components for the automobile industry. Its products include torque converters, dual mass flywheels, continuously variable transmissions, release systems, self adjusting clutches, torque converter clutches, and auto-shift gearboxes. The company was founded in 1977 and is based in Wooster, Ohio. LuK USA LLC operates as a subsidiary of LuK GmbH & Co. KG.