Accelerate Magazine 2024 January

When did you decide to get involved in the trades? I decided to get into the trades in 2022 while I was a senior at Greendale High School. I joined an informational call led by Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) instructors, to learn more about its Tool & Die program. I already knew that I didn’t want to go to a traditional fouryear school, so after learning more about the trades and talking with some of the instructors at WCTC, I knew that's where I wanted to go. What educational path did you take to get into your current profession? In 2022, I was a dual enrollment student attending WCTC as well as Greendale High School to finish up my last high school classes. In April of the same year, I was offered an internship opportunity at Milwaukee Tool. By August of 2023, I had been offered an apprenticeship opportunity at Milwaukee Tool which I accepted and have been serving since. What led you to your current career path? Growing up, I loved sports and my life truly revolved around them. I never had much of an interest in the trades, cars, or really anything other than sports. As I got older, I became more and more confident and comfortable with the decision to not attend a traditional four-year school, and I knew that WCTC was the best option for me. I really didn’t know what to expect during my time at WCTC because I had no prior knowledge of tool and die (including what it actually meant). After completing the two-year program, I can honestly say that going to WCTC was 100 percent the best decision for me. What’s your favorite part about your job? My favorite part of my job is that every day presents a new challenge and opportunity to make a new part or tool that I haven’t made before. One part that I really enjoy is the satisfaction of taking a blank piece of material and machining it to the exact blueprint specifications. What would you say to someone who wants to get involved in the trades? I would tell them to ask themselves, “Did I pick the trade?” or, “Did the trade pick me?” Meaning did you pick this trade because you had an interest in it and because you can see yourself making a career out of this? Or did you end up in this trade because your options were dwindling? Where do you see yourself in the future? I see myself continuing to work at Milwaukee Tool while working my way into a leadership role. I also see myself building a family and living a happy, healthy life. • ZACH SHERIDAN Machinist Apprentice, Milwaukee Tool Tool & Die Outstanding Student of the Year, Waukesha County Technical College SPOTLIGHT ON THE TRADES WAUKESHA COUNTY BUSINESS ALLIANCE, INC. 24