Continental Tire, one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and a global leader in designing top-quality tires, was looking for a way to develop its workforce at its factory in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The company was familiar with the German Dual Education System – an approach recognized globally for its combination of company-specific knowledge, theory, and hands-on learning for employees – and wanted to utilize a similar program for training new employees.

The ICATT Apprenticeship Program assists high-tech manufacturers to implement a sustainable talent pipeline that helps grow their business, minimizes liability costs through appropriate training, and increases retention, during and following the apprenticeship. ICATT Apprentices are recruited, qualified, and trained to learn the skills that companies need and want. The three-year program allows apprentices to learn in a classroom setting and earn a debt-free associate degree at a participating Network College as well as learn from skilled professionals and participate in hands-on training at their company.

Matthias Kretschmer, Division Engineering Manager at Continental Tire, thinks apprenticeships are beneficial to companies because it is an investment in your future workforce. With an apprenticeship program in place, companies are setting up their new employees and the company for success.

“Technicians are able to handle everything the moment they finish their apprenticeship because they are already trained. It is a self-sufficient program,” said Matthias. “Companies are also prepared with a good flow of people coming in if other employees decide to leave or retire.”

The ICATT team helped develop a customized training plan for Continental Tire after visiting the factory and discussing opportunities. In addition, they contacted and collaborated with local colleges to set up the classroom training.

“ICATT also helped us hire a technical trainer and supported us by getting that trainer properly trained,” said Matthias. The ICATT Train the Trainer program is designed to help trainers plan and conduct training more effectively for technical, hands-on professions. With effective training, new employees become more productive faster.

Continental Tire is planning to start its first Industrial Electronics Technician Apprenticeship this fall.

“The main driver of the program for us is to allow us to be set up for the future. We want to set a new standard in the area because no companies around here invest in their people like this,” Matthias said. “Technicians on the floor coming from college will have thorough experience and training to carry out all their job duties. Plus, their education is not only centered around tire building and equipment but a broader range of industrial electronic technician skills are taught. Apprentices have the opportunity to grow in their initial roles and find an area that suits them.”

To learn how your company can get involved with our apprenticeship programs, visit