Innovating Our Future: Efforts to Address ‘Training Gap’ Achieve Milestone with Apprenticeship Graduation

How apprenticeship programs can create a pipeline of trained workers for the future
Monday, August 17, 2015 12:00 pm EDT

By:

Mark Pringle, Vice President, Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub

We continue to see significant national demand for skilled workers to operate today’s modern factories. With that demand, comes an urgent need for business leaders to work with educators to develop programs that train students for jobs in advanced manufacturing – which require demonstrated proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math.  

Using the German-style apprenticeship model as a guide, Siemens USA has created public, academic and corporate partnerships to train workers for these highly-skilled, well-paying jobs. And as part of our participation in the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), we also worked with Alcoa and Dow to develop a playbook for other employers seeking to build apprenticeship programs.

This month, we marked a special milestone in our efforts to address America’s “training gap”: our first group of apprentices at our Charlotte Energy Hub graduated, having completed a rigorous course of study along with demanding on-the-job requirements.

Four years ago we joined Apprenticeship 2000, the Charlotte-based regional apprenticeship partnership, to initiate our first U.S. apprenticeship program. We realized empowering students with real world skills can help clear a pathway to the middle class, and we partnered with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to create a pipeline of skilled manufacturing workers for the future.

Today, our graduating apprentices have all the tools they need fora successful start in today’s modern factory.

They have received on the job training – with pay and without incurring education debt – while simultaneously pursuing studies at CPCC in mechatronics, which combines the specialties of mechanical, computer, electronic, software control and system design engineering. The graduates, who are now employees at our Charlotte factory, have completed the academic requirements for an Associate’s Degree in mechatronics and have also satisfied the work requirements for a Journeyman Certification from the North Carolina Department of Labor.

Each one of our graduates has a unique story to tell about why their apprenticeship was right for them, and how it has impacted their lives.

The “learn as you earn” approach has proven to be invaluable for Douglas Rodriguez, who can tell you how excited he is to have worked in a job he was studying for:

 

 

Or perhaps you want to read a letter from Hope Johnson, who addressed our President and CEO, Eric Spiegel, in a letter of gratitude about the program, which allowed her to help provide for her family. At the graduation ceremony, she shared how this apprenticeship program has shown her that all you really need to succeed in life is ambition and a drive to learn.

Rebeca Espinal, has a “sky’s the limit” attitude, and views the program as an ideal launch to her career in manufacturing at Siemens:

 

 

These three apprentices have shown tremendous commitment and determination, and we look forward to their continued contributions as valued employees and team members at our Charlotte energy hub.

Join Kevin Williams, mentor at the Charlotte plant, in congratulating these three trailblazers who have helped set the stage for a skills-based path to employment in the U.S.: