Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) continues its expansion by expanding its footprint into Nebraska and welcoming CLAAS North America and Graepel North America as the two newest ICATT Network Companies.

At a signing ceremony on February 27, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts joined industry leaders and 175 attendees in celebrating the launch of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program, the first apprenticeship program in Nebraska fully benchmarked on the renowned German Dual Education System.

Following the signing ceremony, a panel was moderated by Deb Franklin, VP of Human Resources at CLASS North America, and featured government and manufacturing industry leaders including Commissioner John Albin, Nebraska Department of Labor; Phil Raimondo, CEO of Behlen Manufacturing/Dream It Do It; Mark Tomkins, President and CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc.; Mark Zumdohme, President Graepel North America, Inc.; and Bill Owen, VP Strategic Initiatives, Metro Community College.

“Our goal is to systematically educate and train people to run the equipment and manufacturing plants of the future,” said Mark Zumdohme. “Our partnership with the ICATT Apprenticeship Program helps with that initiative. The program is a long-term solution and a proven strategy.”

“CLAAS is committed to developing the skills of our workforce and our future workforce,” said Deb Franklin, VP of Human Resources for CLAAS of America. “The dual study program is one of the ways we are impacting our ability to provide the most effective training possible for the most skilled workforce possible. With a skilled workforce availability crisis looming, CLAAS is committed to sustainable and high-quality investments into our workforce.”

The leading apprenticeship program in the Midwest for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics, the ICATT Apprenticeship Program saw significant growth in 2018, adding 26 new companies and four additional colleges last year.

“The consistent growth of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program continues to show the demand that companies have in order to find a long-term solution to a growing problem of finding quality, educated and experienced talent,” said Mario Kratsch, head of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program. “It’s estimated there will be a shortage of 3.4 million workers in the next 10 years. The ICATT Apprenticeship Program and our growing network of apprentices, companies and colleges are doing all we can to tackle the workforce dilemma head-on.”

The ICATT Apprenticeship Program has tripled in size since its inception in 2015. With 70 apprentices, 58 network companies and 15 participating colleges throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and now Nebraska, the program continues its mission to building a pipeline of talent and closing the skills gap. The ICAAT Apprenticeship Program also had a significant milestone by graduating its first cohort of apprentices in 2018.

“Our first graduating class of apprentices worked hard to learn, grow and develop as professionals in their fields,” said Kratsch. “We anticipate offering even more opportunities for debt-free careers this year and I know we’ll continue to add to those numbers as both students and businesses realize the impact we are having in a very competitive workforce environment.”

To learn more about the ICATT Apprenticeship Program, click here.