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Economic Development and Growth through Education

19

We now put in about 20 apprentices per year, and these

are skilled machinists. The programs are for tool and

die makers and very high-skilled setup people. This year

we apprenticed a third occupation, which is electrical-

mechanical and programming. As a result of this

addition, we put a total of 42 apprentices into the fall

semester this year.

EDGE:

Do you see this as a way to deal with your aging

workforce?

PH:

This is the pipeline that backfills into those

positions— that’s how we look at it. Some companies

look to apprenticeship programs for immediate results.

We have a longer-term approach. I’m looking at this

ten-years down the road. Everything that Schaeffler

does starts with a ten-year to twenty-year plan, whether

it’s how we’re going to manage a new product or how

we are going to form a workforce. Apprenticeship is an

investment in our future, and it’s an investment in the

community.

EDGE:

What do you think is the top positive outcome of

an apprenticeship program?

PH:

The top positive outcome for Schaeffler is that

we’ve got a highly-skilled, trained workforce. They

totally understand the systems that we have in place,

and they also represent our future leadership. We’ve had

numerous people travel to Germany anywhere from one

year to two years for additional training, and when they

return, they become the next technical leader.

We have someone right now, who started out as an

apprentice, went from there to be a toolmaker, and then

said, “I want to learn more. I want to do more.” So we

moved him into a supervisory role, and he wanted to

do even more. As a result, we offset his costs to go to

college and earn a business degree. We’ve now moved

him into what we call a segment leader, where he

manages a business unit that represents $80 million per

year. This is clear evidence that apprenticeship can offer

a definite path forward in your career.

EDGE:

What has it been like starting a new apprentice-

ship program today versus your experience in 1988?

PH:

Apprenticeship Carolina has been very helpful.

When we got ready to run the new apprenticeship

program in electrical-mechanical and programming, an

apprenticeship consultant came out and met with us

and the local technical college. They helped provide

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