GEM Program


    (Testimonial, program overview and how to apply) 

     “Golden Eagles Manufacturing” is a collaborative effort between
    Woodward and Rock Valley College, Rockford, Illinois.

    Testimonial from Heather Hawkins

    Graduate of Woodward’s GEM Program

    Through Woodward's Golden Eagles Manufacturing (GEM) Program, Heather was a full-time student at Rock Valley College, while also working part-time at Woodward. During the Heather Hawkinsprogram, she was able to gain experience working with highly trained professionals in numerous departments. Those included were: drafting, special processing and manufacturing engineering. 

    Upon earning an Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering Degree, Heather worked full-time at Woodward as a skilled machinist.Heather joined Woodward, Rockford in 2007 and in August 2011 she was promoted to a Mechanical Drafter/Designer in the ASV engineering department. Heather is continuing her education pursuing a B.S. in Industrial Technology and Management.   

    Heather comments, "As a GEM program graduate, I have been able to gain a diverse knowledge of manufacturing skills through study and work. As a married mother of five, Woodward has supported me in pursuing my career development and I would like to thank them for the opportunity."  

    Program Summary

    • Students work a minimum of 20 hours per week (5 days a week) 
    • Attend Rock Valley College as a full time student 
    • Tuition and fees are paid for by Woodward 
    • After successful completion of the program students earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology 

    Program Details

    • Students are selected each fall 
    • As a part time member at Woodward students will earn the following  benefits; 

                 -  Vacation pay 
                 -  Performance Bonus Plan 
                 -  Holiday pay

    • While working part time at Woodward, students rotate through a number of different production areas: 

                 -  Machining
                 -  Inspection
                 -  Metrology
                 -  Prototype
                 -  Assembly & Test
                 -  Special Processes

    • During this time students will: 

                 -  learn a variety of manufacturing processes along with an opportunity to work
                   in Manufacturing Engineering or Engineering 
                 -  build an understanding of how a product is designed and manufactured 
                 -  develop communication and team skills that can be applied to any future career path

    • If accepted, students are enrolled in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology program, which is a part of the Engineering & Technology Division at RVC.  Students will have an opportunity to earn additional certification such as: 

                 -  CAD
                 -  CNC
                 -  Quality

    • Students will take a variety of classes that are intended to advance their knowledge/understanding of manufacturing, and also build a foundation for successful transition into the workforce or continued education. Students attend classes together as a “cohort”, which creates strong working relationships and a positive learning environment

    How to apply

    If you are interested in applying for the GEM program, please submit your profile on the Careers page of this website or contact Rich Goken, Associate Dean of Engineering Technology, at (815) 921-3101.

    Other Rockford Area Program(s)