US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez met with students at BÃ¼hler Aeroglide’s four-year, on-the-job training program in Cary, North Carolina, USA, which introduces students to important aspects of manufacturing such as welding and fabrication, and the basics of automation and design.
The students acquire workplace experience and a paycheck, while simultaneously attending Wake Technical Community College in pursuit of a degree.
BÃ¼hler Aeroglide manufactures dryers, ovens, roasters, toasters and hot air expansion systems for the food, feed and industrial product markets.
“The ‘earn-while-you-learn’ apprenticeship model is a win-win for businesses and workers alike,” Perez said. “Businesses gain a pipeline of skilled employees in order to grow and workers gain training for jobs that pay well and offer a secure pathway to the middle class. The innovative partnerships developed here in North Carolina should be a model for communities across the country.”
After four years, BÃ¼hler Aeroglide students graduate with an associate degree in mechanical engineering and credentials recognized by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the US Department of Labor. They are also guaranteed a job upon graduation.
“Today’s visit by US Secretary Perez and NC Commerce Secretary Skvarla validates the importance of apprenticeships, and we want students to know this is a viable option after high school,” said Hansjoerg Ill, President and CEO at BÃ¼hler Aeroglide. “Apprenticeships create a unique opportunity to empower young people and help them gain valuable work experience combined with a college education.”
As co-founder of the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), BÃ¼hler Aeroglide worked with six Triangle companies in 2014 to establish the apprentice standard.
“We are pleased to have had a key role in developing this new apprenticeship standard in North Carolina and we thank colleagues and supporters who helped make it possible,” said Lukas Schoenwetter, director of human resources at BÃ¼hler Aeroglide. “As someone who entered an apprenticeship program in Switzerland at a younger age myself, it’s very important to me to see this program realized in the US. An education combined with access to the shop floor will help high school graduates build successful careers in manufacturing. These apprentices, in turn, will go on to be highly skilled employees and will be vital to the development of new ideas, new technologies, and new products that help grow the economy.”
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Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.