As technology evolves, operator skill sets must evolve and adapt to industry changes. Often times, staying on top of the curve can be difficult.
With a rapidly changing industry, it becomes increasingly dynamic to grow and maintain a qualified workforce that succeeds in the market. In 2016, nearly half (40%) of 42,000 global employers surveyed reported talent shortages also known industry-wide as a skills gap.
As a result, manufacturers are crafting in-house apprenticeship programs to help bridge the skills gap and STEM education. Between 2013 and 2017, there was a 42% growth in apprenticeships across the nation, as per the United States Department of Labor. In the 2017 fiscal year alone, over 190,000 Americans entered into apprenticeship programs.
For employers, in-house apprenticeships can create a pipeline of workers with the necessary skillsets. Each manufacturer can target the specific skills needed for their positions in the apprenticeship program and workers have time to comprehend them over the course of the program.
At the apprenticeship program’s end, a credential is given to the worker to certify their occupational ability. By this point the apprentice knows the latest tools, technologies, and analytics from a firsthand source.
Manufacturing apprenticeships provide a long-term solution to talent issues. At Hammill Medical, we have a 4-year apprenticeship program established in 1955. The apprenticeship provides a valuable opportunity to learn a trade. Our program, in affiliation with the National Tooling and Machining Association, gives participants needed work experience and simultaneously covers class credits.
We evaluate participants every 90 days. You need 5,000 hours of experience to complete the program and apply course credit. The apprenticeship is company sponsored and can get participants a two year associate’s degree, or students can opt to continue on for a four year college degree.
The Hammill Medical apprenticeship program has 25-30 people enrolled in it at any one time. As we pay for the student investment, participants join our workforce upon program completion. Today, we currently have about 200 employed.
Teaching necessary skills through our in-house apprenticeship program provide great opportunities to those looking to enter a rewarding manufacturing career. It also advances our workforce so that we can continue to manufacture top-quality orthopedic and spinal implants, implantable medical units, and surgical tools.