Apprenticeships help companies nurture skilled workforce

U.S. companies should celebrate the nation's last five years of economic growth, but they're going to need a lot more skilled workers to keep the party going, according to Thomas Malott, president and ceo, Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. (Alpharetta, Ga.).Mr. Malott says nine of 10 U.S. manufacturers surveyed recently lack qualified high-skill workers, and the U.

05/01/1998


U.S. companies should celebrate the nation's last five years of economic growth, but they're going to need a lot more skilled workers to keep the party going, according to Thomas Malott, president and ceo, Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. (Alpharetta, Ga.).

Mr. Malott says nine of 10 U.S. manufacturers surveyed recently lack qualified high-skill workers, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.3 million more high-tech job openings will be created during the next 10 years. "If solutions are not found, it will become increasingly difficult for technology-driven companies to meet production goals in the U.S.," he says.

Because the U.S. educational system doesn't instill many of the skills required, Mr. Malott suggests manufacturers establish more company-administered apprenticeship programs to train technically proficient employees they'll need to fulfill commitments to their customers. Mr. Malott says Siemens' longstanding corporate program "bridges the education gap" created when noncollege-bound students are given only minimum academic background in English and math.

"Siemens has long recognized its employees as human capital assets, not something to be expensed. We invest in individuals 'up front' in anticipation of ultimately deriving productivity and benefits from our employees," says Mr. Malott.

A Siemens solution

Siemens' current domestic apprenticeship program is based on its parent company's 100-year-old solution for funneling people from school to skilled jobs in industry. About 40% of managers at Siemens, including Albert Hoser, president and ceo of Siemens Corp., are former apprentices.

Siemens has 13,000 apprentices in 20 countries, including 25 separate training programs at 13 U.S. sites. These are located in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida.

Structured around basic educational needs, Siemens' youth and adult apprenticeship programs provide specific work-related skills, hands-on training, and/or community college work-based learning or advanced manufacturing training. After completing their studies, Siemens' U.S. apprentices have equaled or surpassed the test scores of their international colleagues, Mr. Malott reports.

He also says that payback from Siemens' current apprenticeship programs has been immediate. "Apprentice-trained workers achieved a 42% productivity increase and 70% fewer product defects than their untrained counterparts for a total savings of more than $458,000," he adds. "Not bad for a training investment of only $30,000. If only I could find a stock broker who could bring me those kind of returns on my own investments."



Students, adult apprentices secure essential skills

Scattered nationwide, Siemens' U.S. apprenticeship programs train students and adults in numerous technical disciplines. These programs include:

The Youth Apprentice model at its Lake Mary, Fla., facility uses a classic German approach to train high school and junior college students part-time in practical manufacturing, service activities, electronics, and telecommunications. Apprentices spend 20 hours per week in community college classes and 20 hours per week in work-based learning;

Also at Lake Mary, Siemens trains four- and five-year employees to be quality control technicians and floor supervisors. These jobs have been hard to fill and require staffers who know the technology and the company culture, and can direct people;

The Adult Apprentice model at the Franklin, Ky., facility gives adult workers new skills in precision tool-and-die-making. Designed for high school and GED grads, the program offers full-time training in factory-based practical and theoretical learning activities.

The Upgrade Adult Apprentice model at the Wendell, N.C., facility helps 36- to 47-year-old workers enhance manufacturing skills. Adults and high schoolers in Siemens' school-to-work program learn in a factory-training facility at East Wake High School.

Osram Sylvania (Danvers, Mass.) a Siemens company, has more than 100 apprentices enrolled at 10 U.S. locations. These programs provide training in six key areas, including tool-and-die making.

Seniors from Sequoia High School train at Siemens Business Communication Systems (Santa Clara, Calif.) for six hours per week. After a year, they study at Mission College, where they earn college credits while working part-time at Siemens.

At the company's U.S. headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga., high school students in the 10th grade and up train in another program that combines high school studies with hands-on, technical training in manufacturing or industrial electronics.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.