In 1952, LINK Engineering Company opened a second location in the northern Michigan town of Indian River, bringing many new jobs to the community. The new location, LINK Industries, was setup to manufacture and develop cutting tools and support machining details for LINK-Detroit. Many of LINK workers only knew the post-WWII machines they have worked on for decades. Equipment and worker skills needed to be upgraded to keep the plant competitive, and more importantly, continue operation. In 2014, the LINK family committed to an ambitious program to turn its Northern Michigan facility around and the decision was made to make major investments in building upgrades, new CNC machine technology, and employee training.
Working closely with Michigan Works, North Central Michigan College, and strategic Michigan partners, LINK designed a training and hiring plan to be more competitive. LINK is committed to further invest in continued facility upgrades and more CNC equipment, which means LINK workers must become more proficient and certified in newer CNC skill sets. Link Industries is committed to Northern Michigan and has been an active and valued employer in Cheboygan County. Their “family atmosphere” is clear when touring the facility and their pursuit of employee training is to not only better the company, but to better the skills of their valued employees.
Working with Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium, LINK was able to secure a 2021 Going PRO Training Fund award of $13,657 to train 9 existing workers and hire/train 1 new employees. The training covered Advanced Machine and Software Training through Star Cutter.
The Going PRO award will help LINK train the skilled workforce needed to earn new business, widen their product line, increase their customer base, and double their business within 3-5 years.
Doug Gulau, Machinist at LINK and trainee recipient states, “I truly appreciate the opportunity Link Industries along with the Going Pro Grant has given me to learn more about our Star Grinders.”
The trainee was able to learn more about the advanced machining software for the equipment, building value in himself as an employee and building value in the company.
“Doug participated with two other LINK employees in the advanced machine and software training from Star Cutter out of Elk Rapids, MI,” reports Jeff Veryser, General Manager at LINK Industries. “Doug is a lead employee who programs and operates the (3) CNC Star Grinders at LINK Industries. He’s done a great job of fine-tuning our programs for increased efficiency to run “lights out” in the evenings when the day shift is complete.”
In addition to employee training programs, LINK has worked closely with Michigan Works!, participating in student Talent Tours, job postings, and job fairs.