WIRE-Net kicked off its second Apprenticeship Consortium this month, speaking with leaders from 3 metalworking companies (in addition to 4 others already committed to the CNC Machining Consortium). As part of WIRE-Net’s “apprenticeship accelerator” initiative we’ve developed a 21st century approach to company sponsored training to encourage wide adaptation and adoption by manufacturers.
This is a smart practice for six reasons...1. Apprenticeship programs are highly customizable to each company’s unique needs and situation.
2. When organized through a consortium, in this case with WIRE-Net as the consortium facilitator, each member company’s encounter with red-tape is minimized, as WIRE-Net provides all the back-office support.
3. Competency-based apprenticeships give company sponsors much greater confidence in what apprentices are actually learning and, more importantly, how well they can actually perform.
4. WIRE-Net facilitates development of program standards for approval by consortium members and State Apprenticeship Council, delivers train-the-trainer support to each of a member company’s training coaches, is developing a high-school pre-apprentice- to-adult pipeline of talent, and is working with other area career-tech high schools to further develop the pipeline. So far Max Hayes High School in Cleveland is moving ahead, but conversations are underway with several other schools, both east and west side in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.
5. The consortium approach translates into buying power and helps with persuading technical trainers to be responsive to the needs of consortium members, especially in terms of scheduling technical course work.
6. WIRE-Net is bringing resource partners into the initiative to defray some of the costs of technical training (delivered by community colleges or other adult education centers) and is working with the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) and the SkillUp program of Cuyahoga County to secure grants for companies that sign up apprentices and commit to positive wage progression.
WIRE-Net couldn’t do this work without the interest and support of our member companies and other stakeholders, and we rely on the generous support of The Cleveland Foundation as well. The Northern Ohio Manufacturers Apprenticeship Consortium, which has already secured recognition from the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council for our Industrial Maintenance Mechanic program, is moving forward!