2019 has been a year of tremendous growth for the ICATT Apprenticeship Program. In collaboration with ICATT Network Companies, community colleges, and other key partners, we expanded the program into new geographic areas and specialties, and our momentum continues to grow. As we get ready to welcome the new year, let’s take a closer look at some of ICATT’s most exciting moments from 2019.

JPMorgan Chase & Co Invests $1.1 Million in ICATT

The ICATT Apprenticeship Program received a $1.1 million investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co to expand its reach over the next two years. ICATT had existing partnerships with manufacturers and high-tech companies in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. This investment is helping the program expand into new markets, including Michigan and Texas. ICATT is dedicating the funding toward recruiting new employers as long-term partners, with the twin goals of creating desirable apprenticeship positions for young people and providing companies with a pipeline of highly skilled talent.

Second Cohort of Apprentices Graduates

The second cohort of ICATT apprentices graduated this year, with the Chicagoland apprentices celebrating their accomplishment at a ceremony at Chase Tower in downtown Chicago. All of our 2018 and 2019 graduates are now full-time employees at the companies where they did their apprenticeships, including Herrmann Ultrasonics, North American Lighting, Principal Manufacturing, Richard Wolf Medical Instruments, Scot Forge, WITTENSTEIN, and ZF Services.

ICATT Recognized as Leader Workforce Development Strategy

The manufacturing industry is facing a concerning talent shortage; in Illinois, 20,000 manufacturing employees retire each year, while only 5,000 enter the profession. ICATT is a thought leader in workforce development and apprenticeship programs, and the program was featured this year in leading industry trade magazines. Cutting Tool Engineering published an article on apprenticeships that featured ICATT Network Companies and comments by Virginia Rounds, Director of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program. IMEC published our paper Apprenticeship Programs: Vital to Closing the Skills Gap and the Illinois Manufacturing Association published our paper Make or Buy? The Classic Strategy Decision Applied to the Skills Gap. The two white papers are available for download on the ICATT website.

Celebrating Expansion

58 young people started an ICATT Apprenticeship in 2019, our largest year yet, bringing the total number of active or graduated apprentices to 107. In Omaha, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts was part of the ceremony to launch the new cluster there. New clusters centered around Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois and McHenry College in McHenry, Illinois launched as well, and a new program for Automotive Mechatronics had its pilot in Dallas, TX.

Learn more about the advantages of participating in the ICATT Apprenticeship Program.