Laid-off TRW Workers Get New Training

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

TRW was more than a job for Randy Rigelman.

"I was third generation there," he says.

It was a legacy and a way of life.

"My grandmother retired from there, my dad retired from there, and I thought I was gonna be able to retire from there."

The news that the plant would close last July took him completely by surprise. He'd spent 9 years there. His highest level of education was a GED and the question became, 'What next?'

"Knowing how the Jackson economy was, I had no idea," he shrugs.

That's when Randy Rigelman, manufacturer, decided he needed a little retooling of his own. He accepted money from TRW and a partnership of Michigan Works and the Jackson Area Manufacturing Association for computer numeric controlled, or CNC, manufacturing training. He went back to school at Jackson Community College.

He says he loved it, and was a lot more focused than he was in high school. It made all the difference, he says.

Thursday night, 16 college credits later, Randy Rigelman did something he's never done before.

He graduated.

South Central Michigan Works community relations officer Sarah Hartzler says manufacturers says there is a real need for CNC operators in the community.

Randy, and six others, are now CNC machinists--trained to program and operate the complicated equipment of today's manufacturing.

What's more, he started a job at American Tooling Centers on March 5th.

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