If you’re in high school or just starting college, you may be thinking about a career in trades or the metals industry. Even without a four-year degree, there are plenty of opportunities for a fulfilling, lifelong career and job advancement.
In fact, today is a great time to think about a career in the metals industry — even if you are still in high school. Keep reading to learn more about career opportunities you can find at Three D Metals — before you toss that graduation cap.
Entry-Level Career Opportunities in the Metals Industry
“For a lot of opportunities that we have here at Three D, the only experience that you need to have is a great attitude, first and foremost,” says HR Manager Gretchen Gutekunst. “As long as you show up every day and you have a great attitude about it, we’ll teach you anything.”
One example of an entry-level position on the manufacturing floor is the material handler position, which is an opportunity to provide hands-on experience for someone who isn’t sure of their career path yet.
“That person assists our slitter operators and our oscillator and edger operators by helping them get the material on and off the sliders. They help them get it packaged up and down the line, so that we can either put it away for a future shipment or get it right out the door onto a truck to get to our customers,” Gutekunst noted.
At Three D Metals, new employees are paired with a senior operator who will teach them how to handle materials for a particular machine.
“One thing that I learned when I got here was the majority of our operators were originally handlers, so our handlers are future operators,” Gutekunst said, giving the example of a baseball organization. “Sometimes we call them our farm team. If we were professional sports, that’s where we get our next superstar.”
From there, the new employee has a mentor he or she can reach out to for further training, eventually cross-training on other machines.
“Then the sky’s kind of the limit from there,” Gutekunst added.
Advancement Opportunities at Three D Metals
Inside Sales Team Lead Karli O’Rourke gave the examples of a co-worker who started as a machine handler, then became a slitter, eventually went to sales, and now is in production planning. Another started as a handler, then a slitter, and eventually also moved to sales.
“You get your feet wet a little bit in every single department and you learn and learn,” she added. “And I will say the people that come off the floor are some of the strongest when they enter another department because they already know the nuts and bolts of it all.”
Inside Sales Lead Rob Duncan also started on the manufacturing floor and eventually moved into to his current position.
“There are plenty of opportunities to advance your career at Three D Metals,” he said. “I was hired in as a copper scaler in late September 2021, and I was promoted to an inside sales rep position in late February 2022. There are great opportunities for personal growth here at Three D Metals. We are all working as a family here, and every member wants to see the other succeed.”
From Summer Employment to a Career at Three D Metals
“We have a lot of different opportunities for people who want to earn some money during summer and winter breaks from school, but maybe they’re not really sure what they want to do after high school,” Gutekunst said. “We’ve also had a handful of college students over the years who have filled in, in the summers.”
O’Rourke was one of those students — she was just looking for a job while going to school for an associate’s degree when she started helping out at Three D Metals, assisting with filing where needed. When there was an opening she thought she’d be interested in, O’Rourke took the chance, eventually moving to her current position in inside sales. Advancement at Three D Metals, she added, is “incredibly encouraged.”
“People want you to learn, and they want you to know what you’re doing, and they want to offer opportunities for you to learn more,” she said.
“We find people that really make sense here and we teach them more and more as they go, and then they become some of our biggest assets and part of our strength,” Gutekunst added. “And that’s why we do as well as we do.”
She gave the example of a potential summer position at Three D Metals for someone out of high school, which could turn into a lifelong career.
“Ideally what we’re looking for this summer is a high school graduate who has an interest in maintenance or automation engineering who would work with our maintenance team,” she said. “We’re building some great actual equipment here in-house. There’s an opportunity there to really learn and get to know things from that ground level and help be a part of a hugely innovative, continuous improvement for the company. So that person, if they wanted to come back year over year, every summer, we would bring them back with open arms and probably hire them out of college.”
Career Exploration Opportunities with High School Students
Three D Metals has implemented various career exploration opportunities with area schools, such as a program with Medina High School where students job shadow at Three D Metals during their senior year.
Three D Metals is also affiliated with Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates, and students regularly tour the facility to learn about possible job opportunities after high school. You’ll also find Three D Metals at area career fairs in the area.
Choosing Trades vs. a College Education
Choosing a trade, such as metals, gives someone the opportunity to learn a new skill.
“One of the beautiful things about that is, it’s a thing that no one can ever take from you. When you do that and you have the skill, you have a foundation in a completely different industry that a lot of people don’t know anything about, and that can set you up for a great career without having the debt of a college degree hanging on your shoulders,” Gutekunst said.
There’s also the benefit of being an essential part of a business in a niche market, like Three D Metals which provides metal supplies for various industries.
“People need cars, and people need transportation, and people need 5G and need all these different things; we’re talking about a niche market,” O’Rourke said, noting the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on U.S.-based essential manufacturing businesses. “That was a wonderful feeling, of course, to pick a trade. And some of us, maybe not even knowing what we were getting into originally, have been so very, very useful and needed.
“With what the world has been through in the last two years, I think everyone in this world has struggled in some way or another. But coming to work and knowing that no matter what, you’re with a group of people who are going to have fun and help, not only do their own job but help you do yours and everyone wants to help each other succeed…It’s an experience that’s unmatched,” she added.
O’Rourke noted she has an associate’s degree, which isn’t uncommon at Three D Metals.
“There’s a lot of us who don’t have a four-year degree, and we maybe went to school for something that’s not necessarily utilized every day, but something a lot of us are really good at is being a people person and being just like a sponge and learning everything,” she said.
A Great Attitude is What Counts in a Culture-First Working Environment
One of the biggest things that sets Three D Metals’ culture apart from others is the environment that puts people first.
“It’s an environment that’s built to help you thrive; it’s always, ‘Well, what do you want to learn next? What do you want to do next? How can we help get you to that next point? On and off the floor, what do you want to learn? What do you want to do? What do you think would be more helpful?’” Gutekunst said.
“And no idea is too crazy. We explore everything; everyone’s voices are heard, and that’s huge here.”
Explore Career Opportunities at Three D Metals
From a new hire’s first day, they are exposed to every part of Three D Metals — they may learn about each department, from marketing to purchasing to shipping to receiving, learn how each department is affected by another, and receive training on various aspects of our company.
If you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities at Three D Metals or our culture, click below to learn more about our available positions or apply.