Caleb & Mentor

Caleb Werner is a Level 3 Precision/Computerized Machining Technology and Conrad Weiser senior who has a big decision to make. Last month, Caleb received two job offers as a Machine Shop Operator with an hourly rate ranging between $24.00-$29.00/hour after his high school graduation.  

Caleb did not always see himself as operating any tools in a Machine Shop, he thought he wanted to become an engineer. “When I toured Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) in 9th grade and saw all the different types of machines running in the Precision/Computerized Machining Technology Program, I was hooked.”  Caleb continued, “the machines looked so interesting and I couldn’t wait to get started and working with all of them, especially the Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines.”  

During his time at BCTC, Caleb learned how to read schematics, use a variety of different tools, how to operate precision machines, and CNC machining. “I feel incredibly prepared to work anywhere in the industry,” he confidently stated. Caleb has recently completed a training with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Hunch, a program for high school students to design and fabricate real world valued products for NASA. He and his classmates in BCTC ‘s Precision/Computerized Machining program will be creating a component for the International Space Station. “It is really cool that I get to work with NASA while in high school,” Caleb exclaimed. “It is such a surreal opportunity that not many high school students have!” 

Last June, Caleb began a Cooperative Education (co-op) program between BCTC and Reading Bakery Systems after school. Co-op Education combines classroom-based education with practical work experience. He works with a mentor at Reading Bakery and creates parts for large bakeries all around the world. Caleb noted, “I may not know exactly what the part I am creating will be used for, but I know that it is integral for the bakery system.” His co-op job as a Machine Shop Operator includes setting up and running a variety of machines and ensuring all parts meet the necessary specifications. “Before co-op I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the industry.” Caleb added, “Co-op gave me focus and showed me how far I can take my career. I will be starting as an Operator, but my goal is to become a CNC Programmer and then a Machine Shop Coordinator.”   

No matter what job offer Caleb chooses, he is ready to launch a successful career.