Today’s guest on the MakingChips podcast is passionate about job creation in the manufacturing industry. Today’s youth are being pushed towards college degree—while racking up debt—which has led to $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the country. It is staggering. Unfortunately, many students spend the majority of their working life paying off that debt.
Jon Klinepeter left a career as a Pastor to start Forrest Bradshaw Industries and the Better Good Group. His goal is to offer underprivileged youth a shot in an industry that is screaming for more labor. To hear more about his heart and mission in manufacturing, listen to the whole episode of MakingChips now!
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Jon Klinepeter spent 22 years as a Pastor in Chicago (and Minneapolis, MN). He had a passion and love for the people he worked with. He was an advocate in his community. His faith has always been very important to him—but he didn’t love the church organizational structure. So he completed an MBA in Strategy and Innovation.
Then, he bought a 38-year-old CNC Machining company from a Polish Immigrant.
But why machining? Jon’s grandfather was his hero growing up, and had spent his life as a machinist. According to Jon, what drew him in was “The intellect being expressed through your hands rather than through an education system that rewards a certain type of thinking”. He wanted to build a business with that thought in mind.
Jon’s passion is job creation, and he knows the manufacturing industry is constantly growing. Not only is it growing, but being a CNC machinist is the highest paying career you can have without a college degree. Jon wanted to take that knowledge and start creating generational opportunities for underprivileged youth.
Nothing brings him greater joy than seeing the look of hope on someone’s face when they’ve been offered a job they never thought remotely possible. The purpose of Forrest Bradshaw is to inspire hope for a better future through living wage job opportunities in precision metal manufacturing.
With his purpose and vision for Forrest Bradshaw, he launched an initiative to create 100,000 jobs for at-risk youth across the country. He wanted to inspire hope for a better future through living wage job opportunities in precision metal manufacturing. He’s watched thousands of kids walking into job fairs scared and hopeless, but leaving full of hope.
What is being offered is more than just a job, but a future.
Many kids don’t have the right guidance or mentors available to them. Those of us fortunate enough to have parents that were available had a safety net. Parents are ongoing mentors throughout our lives—but many underprivileged youths don’t get that. Providing jobs gives them hope for the next generation.
With his core vision in mind, Jon knew he had to build a business with his values at the center of everything he did. The foundational value he chose to build Forrest Bradshaw on was integrity. At times, practicing integrity can seem counter-cultural. Jon reminisced about getting some machinery fixed:
The company giving him a quote for the job (that the insurance was going to cover) asked him what cut that he wanted from the quote.
With his team waiting to see what his response would be, he responded “Just whatever it costs, bill us for that”. Your integrity will cost you something. That would’ve been easy money in his pocket. Instead, he chose to honor his core values and lead with integrity.
To hear the rest of Jon’s mission, vision, core values, and advice for leaders in manufacturing, listen to the whole episode!