Educators & Industry Join to Graduate Pre-apprenticeship Students

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on September 26, 2019

Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), apprenticeships show 56 percent growth since 2013. In 2018, nationwide, there were over 585,000 apprentices. This is a proven strategy for developing a workforce that is essential for the prosperity of the nation.

Manufacturing has long been an advocate of apprenticeship programs.

The results are clear: By establishing apprenticeship programs around industry-wide standards, U.S. employers who sponsor apprenticeship programs can more quickly build a pipeline of skilled workers, boost retention, reduce recruiting costs and improve productivity.

And benefits of this “earn and learn” strategy are just as compelling for apprentices. Apprentices get paid while obtaining training for skilled positions that will launch them on a promising and lucrative career path. That means a debt-free education when compared to many of their counterparts pursuing two-year and four-year college degrees.

The industry has rallied around this strategy, and successful apprenticeship programs – from pre-apprenticeship to Registered Apprenticeship programs — involve industry, educators, DOL, unions, workforce agencies and community-based organizations.

One recent success story comes from Hawthorne High School, part of the Centinela Valley Union High School District, in Southern California, about 15 miles from Los Angeles. A longtime SME PRIME school, they recently celebrated 23 students from the school’s Manufacturing and Engineering program who graduated from South Bay Workforce Investment Board’s (SBWIB) Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship program.

The students successfully earned certificates by completing the three-track Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship program requirements:

Each student received a $500 stipend at their graduation ceremony as a reward for successful completion of the program.

The Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship program aligned with Hawthorne High School is an employer-directed “earn and learn” model for engineering, allowing individual employers to design the program’s curriculum based on competencies. The program provides participating high school students with an awareness of opportunity within manufacturing along with the valuable workplace skills needed to succeed in a professional setting.

This is exactly what is needed to address the talent gap.

As a founding partner of the Aero-Flex program, we see many examples of how these apprenticeship programs, uniting employers, educators, workforce development agencies and more, are helping solve workforce and pipeline development challenges in the field of Advanced Manufacturing.

Contact us at 866.706.8665 if you’re interested in learning more about an apprenticeship program.

At Tooling U-SME, we remain committed to helping educators and employers collaborate to build the next generation manufacturing workforce.

Tags: Aero-Flex, apprentices, apprenticeship, "Department of Labor", "Hawthorne High School", manufacturing, PRIME, SME, "Tooling U-SME", training, workforce