Rock River Valley tooling and machining apprentices graduate

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- After four years of hard work, it's now graduation time for 15 local apprentices.

At Wednesday's Rock River Valley Tooling and Machining Association gala the 15 graduates will receive their journeyman's card that's verified by the Department of Labor. Each apprentice must complete 640 classroom hours and 8,000 to 10,000 hours of on the job training.

All 15 will have jobs at the companies they did their apprenticeship and they will help replace an aging industry, where in the next five to 10 years, 40% of machinists and tool and dye makers will need to be replaced.

"Personally I really love the apprentice program because I absolutely hate sitting in classrooms and watching the professor talk on and on,” said apprentice Andrew Carlsson. “This actually gets me on hands experience and learn things."