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our re-entry group because I feel they would be passed over. “We can’t start apprentices or

unskilled people at journeymen wages in other states and be competitive.” Te minimum wage change is not

the only way Danko Arlington is involved.

In a single month of 2016 for Joe Parker and Quante Thomas hand-finish FDM core boxes.

hire ex-offenders, Danko has some advice. “If you go to a charity, if you go to

a halfway house, all their clients will be prescreened so at least you know they’re not positive for drugs or alco- hol. Foundry safety is essential. Our work is too dangerous to have risk,” Danko said. “Work with state and local resources and nonprofits. You will quickly know which applicants are serious in learning our type of hard work. We are a family business and we care. We offer many chances to learn the job. After a while, occasionally, it becomes apparent that the applicant is not a good fit and it’s time to move on. We at least tried.” Recently, the company has also

hired refugees from Africa, Afghani- stan, and Syria. “Tis is nothing new. Troughout

the company’s history, we have hired refugees from Eastern Europe, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union; even patternmakers from post-WWII Ger- many,” Danko said. “We are proud that we have helped so many legal immigrants with secure employment and citizenship into our country.” But that hiring isn’t the extent of Danko’s community interest.

Active and Engaged After Danko Arlington began

hiring ex-offenders, Danko was appointed by the governor to the

22 | MODERN CASTING June 2017

Maryland Correctional Educational Council and attended meetings with state and civic leaders to work on ways to give inmates the skills to succeed on the outside. Then, Danko joined the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Develop- ment Board, and has been involved with that for the last three years, advocating for more chances for city residents and ex-offenders. Over the past year or so, Danko

was involved with the effort to fight a bill in Baltimore that would have brought a $15 per hour minimum wage. Danko spoke in front of the city council and other leaders that the idea of raising the minimum wage would have unintended consequences like wage compression. Even though the company starts much higher than the current minimum wage and the majority of its employees earn well over $15 per hour, the bill would threaten the future of manufactur- ers like Danko Arlington and the employment of its workers. “What I’m trying to do is tell our legislators that this will backfire, that this will hurt Baltimore in the long run because it will keep job creators from coming to Baltimore,” Danko said in March, before the bill was passed by the city council and then vetoed by Mayor Catherine Pugh. “It will stifle our economy, cause us to stagnate and it will hurt

example, Danko participated in Engineering Day at the University of Maryland, made a presentation at a local elementary school and hosted the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. And that only scratches the surface of what Danko does to spread the message about his industry. “I love metalcasting. I’ve done it my whole life and I enjoy it and I fear that metalcasters have a bad rap, that people have the impression that met- alcasters have one eye and one finger and work in a dungeon, but it’s really a lot of technology and it envelops all aspects of engineering, thermodynam- ics, strength of materials, heat transfer, and fluids,” Danko said. “It’s what we call foundry practice. You’ve heard of medical practice or law practice,; we call it practice because we never get it right. We always practice in a foundry.” On the Danko Arlington campus sits a building that effectively func- tions as a warehouse. Danko thinks that facility could have another future. “It’s quite possible we might take

all our own manual machine shop equipment and move it over there and actually just start a school,” Danko said. “Let’s just start an education apprenticeship program where we get credit to train people for the pattern shop, foundry, and machine shop— new skills to meet industry needs for the next generation.”


Check out a full photo gallery of the opera- tions at Baltimore-based Danko Arlington, the 2017 Metalcaster of the Year. To see the complete collection of photos, go to

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