By Edison Freire, Director of Gateway Initiatives, JEVS Human Services
Twenty months ago when the pandemic hit and Americans were applauding the lifesaving efforts of our health care workers, all eyes were also focused on manufacturing. How fast could production go for essentials like respirators, personal protection equipment (PPE), and germ sanitizers, as well as items we needed at home like paper products and food.
In these cases, factories were working overtime. And, today, demand continues for production workers, machine operators, logistics and more as manufacturers rethink and refocus how to sustain in an industry rocked by COVID.
Aligned with our mission to assist individuals in obtaining employment, JEVS Human Services has been working with small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the region to feed the pipeline of a diverse workforce with apprentices. Through our innovative Tri-State Apprenticeship Program, we currently support four manufacturing occupations: Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Machine Operator, Machinist, and Tool and Die Maker. Positions projected to grow 13 percent over the next ten years, with annual mean wages in Pennsylvania of $50-56,000.
How Does it Work?
As an apprenticeship intermediary, JEVS collaborates with employers to train, develop, and support their employees. The apprenticeship includes 144 hours of related technical instruction, structured on-the-job-learning, and mentorship that ensures the apprentice obtains an important credential in the manufacturing industry, the journey worker certificate.
JEVS is able to leverage grant funding to offset some of the employers’ training and onboarding costs. Presently, we have funding from the state and the U.S. Department of Labor to support employers hiring new apprentices. Therefore, the cost is minimal to the manufacturing business, and they gain trained workers with the potential to grow and advance within the company.
JEVS Tri-State Apprenticeship Program has facilitated apprenticeships with the following manufacturers:
- CHL Systems
- EKL Machine
- ifm prover
- H-V Industries, Crown Cork and Seal
- Milton Roy
- Neu Dynamics Corporation
- New Way Air Bearings
Dennis Murphy, plant superintendent with H-V Industries, Crown Cork and Seal, mentors Vince Dando with the support of JEVS Tri-State Apprenticeship Program. Dando is training for a machinist position.
I started out as just a shipper/receiver. The opportunity came up to learn a trade and further myself in a career where I could eventually have a full-time job as a machinist and hopefully move on to other things from there. I love seeing and knowing about the different machines coming into the shop, so I can get excited to learn how to run them and different aspects of what the machines can do.Vince Dando, Machinist Apprentice
Services to Employers
The post-COVID economy will benefit from individuals, like Dando, who possess the technical skills manufacturing employers need to rebound and grow. To push the concept of apprenticeships further—as an approach to talent development that fuels businesses with diverse and knowledgeable workers—partnership and dedication are key.
“JEVS is working with business owners, educators, individuals in workforce development, as well as key individuals in the public and private sector, to cement pathways to in-demand employment for so many in our region,” said Edison Freire, Director of Gateway Initiatives at JEVS.
“Our mission is to be innovative and collaborate with manufacturers to offer optimum savings with economies of scale solutions.”
JEVS Tri-State Apprenticeship Program provides the following in support of employers building a highly qualified workforce specific to their needs.
- Technical assistance to develop new manufacturing apprenticeships and to prepare workforce development applications for on-the-job learning funds.
- Administration and tracking of the Registered Apprenticeship reporting requirements.
- Sourcing of candidates; evaluation of potential barriers of apprentice candidates and assisting in the mitigation of those barriers.
- Comprehensive mentoring training and ongoing support for new and experienced mentors, as well as support to ensure a productive apprentice/mentor pairing.
- Access, setup, and orientation to an online training solutions, providing apprentice and their mentors access to over 500+ industry-recognized courses.