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“Your whole life can change with one phone call.”

That’s what Montez Cheeks, a recent computer numerical control (CNC) boot camp graduate, said when asked about his experience with boot camp training programs offered by Gateway Technical College.

Montez signed up for the CNC boot camp at a point in his life when he needed a fresh start. Encouraged by his brother, who is also a CNC operator, and his mother, Montez attended an information session and completed the application packet. He was accepted into the program and embraced it as an opportunity to “gain lifelong skills that can be used anywhere.” He described the program as a blessing, the math coursework as hard, and the instructors as great.

Montez graduated from the 14-week CNC boot camp training program and has been employed since August as a CNC machine operator at CNH, where he earns nearly $20 per hour. Montez, a father of three, said he is blessed to earn what he needs to provide for his family. He smiles when he sees his youngest son play in his work boots. He is proud to set an example for his children.

Montez also said the money he earns allows him to work toward his long-term goals of owning a home, getting a new car and buying a food truck where he can sell his homemade egg rolls. He had this advice for anyone interested in the boot camp training programs: “Don’t overthink it, just do it and if you get into the boot camp, get a notebook and take great notes!”

Through boot camp training programs, southeastern Wisconsin residents can get the skills and credentials needed to secure in-demand jobs in CNC machine operation and Telecom/Cabling installation. Thanks to the generous support of Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson, boot camp training is available at no cost. The 12- to 14-week programs, which are offered by Gateway Technical College in partnership with the Southeast Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, provide hands-on training and take place five days a week at Gateway’s cutting-edge SC Johnson integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center.

Graduates receive a certificate of completion, college credits, job placement assistance and preparation for careers where wages range from an entry-level rate of $13 per hour to an experienced rate of $20 per hour or more.

The training programs are open to Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth County residents who are at least 18 years old. Please call Todd Nienhaus at 262.638.6541 to participate in an upcoming information session.

Story sponsored by the Department of Workforce Solutions.

Looking for a job in manufacturing? Check these jobs out: Punch press operator, quality technician, second shift operator, CNC, and more.