Southwire welcomes its first class to the Maintenance Apprenticeship Program. Pictured (L-R): Front Row: Ashley Hicks, Brandon Hammond, Terrell Jones, Heather Poe, Vincente Williams, Sam Guy. Back row: Geoffrey Vaught, Kenneth Heifner, Jeff O’Bryant, John Spence, Clint Starling, Jody Marlow, Jonathan Thomason.
Working to build a sustainable maintenance workforce, Southwire, Carrollton, GA, welcomed its first class to the company’s Maintenance Apprenticeship Program in January. Southwire’s newly-introduced, two-year apprenticeship program is a partnership with local, participating technical education institutions which applies industry standards to a formal training and educational curriculum for apprentices, specifically senior millwrights and senior electronic technicians.
“Southwire’s Maintenance Apprenticeship Program is intended to educate and expand the talent pool for our technical maintenance positions, an area where we see a huge need, both today and for the future,” said Richard Miller, Southwire’s senior vice president of manufacturing, Construction Systems & Solutions, in a press release. “We knew we needed to create a solution for Southwire to remain efficient in our business. So, we visited and benchmarked other companies who have existing, successful apprenticeship programs, blended some of the ideas with our own, leveraged existing partnerships with technical colleges and created a program that I believe will benefit both Southwire and our future maintenance workforce.”
The first class of apprentices includes 10 participants, who will spend a portion of each day attending technical classes at a participating technical college and will devote the remainder of the workday to on-the-job training in a Southwire manufacturing facility. Nine participants from the first class will attend West Georgia Technical College and one participant will attend classes at Gadsden State Community College. Each apprentice will also be assigned a mentor to help guide him/her through the program.
The company expects that, after the apprenticeship is complete, these participants will be equipped with the proper skills to effectively fill open, full-time positions at the senior maintenance level.
“The industry is currently facing a severe skilled-trade shortage. There are not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs we need, and the demand is increasing daily,” said Hans Meiring, Southwire’s executive vice president and president of international and operational development. “The creation of the Maintenance Apprenticeship Program is a commitment by Southwire to ensure that we develop local technical skills and take a positive step forward in our efforts to bridge the skills gap. With Southwire’s ever-expanding manufacturing base in the U.S., this is a very important component of workforce development to ensure Southwire’s position in a very competitive marketplace.”