Faced with the difficulty of finding qualified employees to work in manufacturing, JCB has begun a formal manufacturing skills apprentice program designed to grow a work force while spotlighting manufacturing as a high-tech well-paying career opportunity, the Savannah Morning News reports.
With the encouragement of top Georgia officials and in partnership with Savannah Technical College, JCB selected five recent high-school graduates who this month began paid apprenticeships with the company. The three-year program, which JCB president and deputy chairman John Patterson hopes will eventually accept as many as 100 new high-school graduates each year, is comprised of morning classroom work at STC and afternoons and full-day Friday work on the manufacturing floor at JCB.
Both the classroom and on-the-job curriculum are tailored to specific JCB manufacturing skills, incorporating basic criteria that other manufacturers can then adapt to their own needs. At the end of three years, successful participants will receive certifications, licenses or diplomas as well as opportunity to continue as a full-time employee.
Two of the apprentices will work in machine tooling, two in welding and one as an electrical apprentice. Each will have a mentor who will have special training in leadership and coaching.
The apprentices start earning $21,000 per year plus full employee benefits for a 40-hour week, including classroom work, with salary rising on a sliding scale after the first year. Apprentices, in return, need to commit to the program for three full years. JCB will also offer a manufacturing engineering curriculum.