Apprenticeships are enjoying new respect in today’s increasingly high-tech world of manufacturing, as trends underscore a significant skills gap and looming talent shortage in the industry. A Deloitte Consulting LLC report projects 3.5 million manufacturing jobs needed by 2025 and expects 2 million of them to go unfilled, and companies are seeing the potential of apprenticeship programs to help minimize skyrocketing costs associated with these gaps.

Case in point? A worker shortage in an automotive supplier’s maintenance department resulted in the following costs. When evaluated individually, vacancy costs can seem insignificant but when combined, associated costs can easily total $2 million per year or more. Costs include:

  • worker overtime
  • turnover spurred by overwork and the expenses of replacing these workers
  • outside maintenance and technical support services
  • unplanned downtime
  • expedited shipping and 3PL expenses due to slipping schedules

In addition, some companies find their staff shortages have led to additional costs in terms of quality issues, morale problems, or even an entire shift derailing because of a cranky, overworked employee.

Now for the good news: an effective apprenticeship program can help eliminate these costs, while increasing employee loyalty and helping companies keep pace with market demands.

“The ICATT Apprenticeship Program helps high-tech manufacturers and companies struggling to find and retain a loyal workforce by helping them develop a sustainable pipeline of highly-skilled talent,” says Mario Kratsch, Head of the ICATT Apprenticeship Program.

Once manufacturers look at the true costs of unfilled jobs, they realize the investment in an apprentice can have an incredible, long-term return. ICATT’s program is designed to help them overcome barriers to an effective apprenticeship program by identifying resources and facilitating recruiting and training.

“Unlike some work-study programs which put the focus on the schoolwork plus a part-time job, we see the employer as the center of the system,” says Kratsch. “The apprentice is, first and foremost, your employee. And when employers invest in their employees, this investment creates loyalty and an incredible return on the investment. We provide industry-developed and vetted training content, and you can add your own specialty technology on top.”

The significant return on investment for companies participating in the ICATT Apprenticeship Program in the Midwest is a highly trained, best-of-class, loyal team. In fact, companies participating in the ICATT program have enjoyed average apprentice retention of 85%, compared with 70% from other programs, and turnover is further reduced by the requirement of a 2-year FTE commitment upon successful completion of the program.

Without a strategy to address vacancies, high-tech manufactures are not only losing money today, but hampering growth opportunities.

“I suggest the ICATT Apprenticeship Program to my peers,” says Darragh Staunton, President of BBS Automation Chicago . “This is the program that works for us and it works for the industry. To protect the high-tech manufacturing industry, we need to have this program, or the industry will stay where it is today, and we will struggle to be competitive.”

For more information on the ICATT Apprenticeship Program’s strategy for closing the skills gap, click here.


Sources: Deloitte Consulting, LLC