On September 7, the Governor of Kentucky paid a visit to voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation to honor the company’s workforce development efforts. In his speech, he praised RFCs apprenticeship program as a local model of success and spoke about the importance of such training programs for young people across the state.
While in Germany or Austria there is a possibility for young people to take on an apprenticeship education of 3-4 years, there is hardly a comparable education system in the US. Although the US apprentice does exist, very often he or she is older than the typical Austrian or German apprentice, lacks secondary education or has been out of work for some time.
Development of workforce
Nevertheless, companies like voestalpine always need skilled labor. Hence, workforce development is of great importance. The management at voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation Inc. has repeatedly shown its commitment to workforce development in the local area. In particular, the corporation’s apprenticeship program has proven to be very successful, yielding 13 apprentices for the tool and die making trade. The company already initiated the Kentucky Technical Machining Association Certified Apprenticeship Program back in 2003. Each of the tradesmen has completed 576 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 hours of on the job training over a four year period. The objective of this program has been to maintain high standards of workmanship by developing skilled craftsmen. Registered apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction tailored to a company’s needs, and provide students an opportunity to earn a wage while gaining occupational competencies. In Kentucky, there are registered apprenticeships for nearly 1,000 skillsets – everything from welding, to HVAC, to information technology and health care fields.
Kentucky’s Governor praised workforce development efforts
One of RFC’S apprentices, Micah Craig, who went on to complete his college degree and is now a process engineer, was asked to speak about his experience at voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation as part of a visit by the Governor of Kentucky. Mr. Bevin expressed a serious interest in this type of training program and praised RFC’s workforce development efforts, saying that they should serve as a model for other companies throughout the state.
In his speech, Governor Bevin thanked all employers who have already adopted registered apprenticeships into their business models and underlined the importance of offering vocational training for skilled jobs that does not require a four-year university degree. Moreover, he mentioned how the State of Kentucky is launching an initiative to support apprenticeship programs like the one at voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation.
The company is very proud of this type of recognition, which ensures that it remains “one step ahead” in its region in terms of workforce development education and financial support.
More information about Kentucky’s state-wide apprenticeship program can be found here.
Apprenticeship in the voestalpine Group
Currently, a total of 1,377 apprentices are being trained in the voestalpine Group, most of which are in Austria and Germany. Here, there are around 50 different types of jobs for which apprentices can receive training. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the apprenticeship programs is the balance between theoretical learning at school and vocational training on the job.