Today’s manufacturing businesses need workers with high-level skills, particularly technological expertise. Apprenticeships are one way students learn these skills while applying their classroom education. Often, students get paid for their apprenticeship and may be hired once they finish their formal education. Educational institutions in Mecklenburg and Lee counties have already initiated formal programs with Siemens and Caterpillar, respectively, to ensure a continuous talent pipeline.
Many communities could benefit from an apprenticeship program with local manufacturers. Here are a few key questions your community should think about as you initiate such a program.
Champions: Who are the key partners we need to help champion these strategies? Be as specific as possible.
Existing Assets: What existing assets could communities build upon in implementing the alignment strategies?
Resources: If the alignment strategies require new or additional resources, what might they be and where might the community get them?
Barriers: Are there one or two things that could be a barrier to implementing the alignment strategies?
Many manufacturing apprenticeship programs have already been established in North Carolina, and could be good jumping off points for a program in your community. Such programs include:
Siemens Corporation in Mecklenburg County has partnered with Central Piedmont Community College and local area high schools to train new workers as well as retrain current ones with newly required skills. The objective has been to hire locally for long-term business needs. For more information: http://www.cpcc.edu/news/cpcc-siemens-receive-distinguished-partners-in-excellence-award (See Siemens and CPCC featured in a November 2013 Washington Post Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/recasting-high-school-german-firms-transplant-apprentice-model-to-us/2013/11/27/6b242be8-4e42-11e3-ac54-aa84301ced81_story.html?wpmk=MK0000200)
In Lee County, Caterpillar, Lee County Schools, Central Carolina Community College and the North Carolina Department of Labor recently launched an apprenticeship program to train high school students for critical jobs in manufacturing. In the fall of 2012, 16 high school students enrolled and took classes while working at the Caterpillar facility three days a week. For more information: http://www.cccc.edu/news/story.php?story=8936
Apprenticeship 2000 is a technical training partnership in Charlotte, NC designed to develop the talent for local manufacturing positions. Partners include eight local manufacturers who recruit juniors and seniors from local high schools for careers as a tool and die maker, electronics technician and welding fabricator among other careers. For more information: http://apprenticeship2000.com
South Carolina has begun a program called Apprenticeship Carolina run through the technical colleges in the state. The program works with manufacturing companies and provides free apprenticeship consultations. At present, all counties within South Carolina have benefitted from the program and 8,000 apprentices have been placed in over 500 businesses. For more information see: http://www.apprenticeshipcarolina.com/default.html