The May 2019 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine – a publication that helps manufacturing professionals enhance the productivity of their companies’ cutting and grinding operations – featured an interview with Virginia Rounds, Director of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program.

In the article, Rounds discussed the value of apprenticeships for both participating companies and apprentices. Spanning five states, the ICATT Network is composed of more than 60 manufacturing companies and 14 colleges, and to date, the program has trained or is in the process of training 78 apprentices. Each apprentice works at a company while earning a debt-free associate degree, and then stays on with the company for an additional two years.

The ICATT Apprenticeship Program targets three occupations in manufacturing – industrial maintenance, machine building, and CNC machining – and focuses on creating long-term solutions to help manufacturers address the skills gap and change negative misconceptions about manufacturing careers. ICATT’s mission will take time, but Rounds said that a growing number of young people are showing interest in the program.

“What’s also gratifying is when their parents start to come around,” Rounds told CTE. “We have to make parents happy to send their kids into manufacturing careers. We have to have counselors recognize this as an attractive option for the best and brightest.”

Read the full article in CTE magazine.