For high-tech manufacturers, recruiting and retaining talent is a pressing challenge. There is a widening skills gap in the industry, and companies must address the imminent staff shortage – or face the significant costs associated with it.

But while this problem is serious, there is a strategy proven to help companies solve it. A well-executed apprenticeship program – like the one offered by ICATT – is an effective way to attract a new pool of workers, train them for desirable skills, and encourage them to stay with the company.

A 2016 study from the Economics & Statistics Administration, an agency within the United States Department of Commerce, examined a sample of businesses from different industries to evaluate the costs and benefits of apprenticeship programs.

“The companies in our study were unanimous in their support of apprenticeships,” said the agency. “They found value in the program and identified benefits that more than justified the costs and commitments they made to the apprentices.”

All of the companies reported that apprenticeships enhanced their overall performance and supplied them with a competitive advantage over other firms. Apprenticeships led to improved production, better employee engagement, and reduced turnover.

Companies that participate in the ICATT Apprenticeship Program experience these same advantages. And because they invest in the success of their apprentices – providing them with an associate degree, a salary, and training – the apprentices return that initial investment with dedication, hard work, and loyalty.

The program has a high success rate: 85% of apprentices complete the program and go on to fulfill the two-year employment commitment after graduation. But many apprentices stay far beyond that requirement, choosing to develop their expertise and grow within the companies that gave them their start. They want to dedicate their talents to companies where they have felt valued and mentored from the very beginning.

Alexis Ojeda, a 3rd-year ICATT Apprentice at WITTENSTEIN, says he will stay with the company because he feels that the people he works with are truly part of his family. Another 3rd– year ICATT Apprentice already has plans to spend his whole career at his company Hermann Ultrasonics including an assignment at the headquarters in Germany.

Many ICATT Network Companies have leaders who started as apprentices themselves.

Peter Kamps, Vice President of Finance & Business Administration at Siemens, completed his apprenticeship more than 30 years ago, but he has stayed on at the company, saying, “To this day, I continue to be excited by working at Siemens.”

And Manuel Merkt enrolled in an apprenticeship program at Hermle AG almost two decades ago. He was attracted to the program’s combination of hands-on training and theoretical knowledge, and he has since worked his way up to be President of Hermle Machine Company LLC.

Learn more about how the ICATT Apprenticeship Program helps companies train, retain, and grow a skilled workforce.