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NEPA apprenticeship programs help employers develop skilled employees

Food processing companies throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania are able to reduce their investment in training costs by taking part in a variety of apprenticeship programs that are funded by state organizations. The Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board assists companies in Greater Hazleton by offering apprenticeships that are underwritten by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Keystone Development Partnership and PA Department of Labor and Industry.

The Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship is among the many trainings available for the manufacturing sector. It provides industries in Greater Hazleton with an opportunity that helps entry-level production workers gain the knowledge and competencies needed to work in the advanced manufacturing environment and perform at a level of high productivity.

The apprenticeship trains workers to set up, operate, monitor and control production equipment; help improve manufacturing processes and schedules to meet customer requirements; understand manufacturing as a business system that integrates multiple disciplines, processes and stakeholders; and efficiently and safely manage raw materials and consumables.

Courses include industrial math for the trades and blueprint reading, industrial manufacturing, CPR and OSHA 10, as well as Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) modules in safety, quality practice and measurement, manufacturing processes and production, and maintenance awareness.

Christine Jensen, PA CareerLink® Luzerne County administrator, said, “The Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) apprenticeship was developed to meet manufacturing firms’ needs to upgrade the skills of the frontline production workers. The IMT on-the-job learning and related instruction are relevant in a variety of manufacturing settings, including food processing, and can be customized to a particular firm’s criteria.”

According to the United States Department of Labor, apprenticeship programs helps businesses develop highly-skilled employees, reduce turnover rates, increase productivity and lower the cost of recruitment. Employers benefit as a result of an increased knowledge transfer through employees participating in on-the-job learning from an experienced mentor, combined with education courses to support work-based learning. Additionally, apprenticeship programs produce a stable and reliable pool of qualified workers. Studies show that employee retention rates increase as a result of apprenticeship training. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor,
91% of apprentices that complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.

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