voestalpine not only wishes to be the technology and quality leader in the NAFTA region, it is also applying the highest standards to its in-house training. Seven young employees are currently enrolled in the training program at the automotive site in Cartersville.
The automotive site in Cartersville, in the state of Georgia, opened in spring 2014. Since then the state-of-the-art plant has continually expanded, and there is great need for new and qualified employees. In contrast to Austria and Germany, in the USA there is no uniform or national system of training for youngsters. For that reason, in June 2014, voestalpine Automotive Components Cartersville Inc. launched its own in-house training program for tomorrow’s generation of skilled employees. Seven young employees are in training during the current business year, and two graduates of the program are already working as skilled employees in the company.
Demand for skilled employees is high
Securing a major contract, in the past year more than USD 60 million has been invested in expanding production capacities further. The majority of the investment has gone to extending operations at voestalpine Automotive Components Cartersville Inc. Investment has also gone into a supplementary production hub for Cartersville, located in Birmingham, Alabama. 450 jobs will have been created at the two American subsidiaries by 2020.
"By 2020 we will complete the 3rd expansion phase and phs production line, and have over 450 employees. We also need qualified employees with specialist knowledge of advanced manufacturing. As it is difficult to find such specialists in the region, we are training them ourselves in-house."
“Apprenticeship training” made in the USA
The training scheme is based on the dual system of education offered in vocational schools, and voestalpine training organizations in Austria and Germany. Over a period of 2½ years, the trainees are taught both theoretical knowledge and practical skills within the company. Graduates of the program are awarded the title of Industrial Manufacturing Technician.
"You really learn a lot here, and once you’ve got the hang of it, you get really good. We’re taught to use the machines, learn manual skills, and are educated about industrial manufacturing in general."
Cooperation with the College & Career Academy
The training program is run in close cooperation with the local College & Career Academy, which is a form of vocational high school. Four times a week, in three or four hour sessions, the company runs “lessons” and practical exercises on the subjects of tool maintenance, quality, and logistics. In the following video, Paul Sabin, Principal and Managing Director of the College & Career Academy, explains the advantages of this program and a partnership which goes back years: