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Ahead of the Curve Auto Supplier Blog

February 17, 2014

A New Wave for the Automotive Industry - Paid Apprentice Training

What’s the price tag for a college education?  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the price for undergraduate tuition, room and board at a public college rose a whopping 42% between 2000-01 and 2010-11.  The National Center for Education Statistics reports that “for the 2010–11 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $13,600 at public institutions, $36,300 at private not-for-profit institutions, and $23,500 at private for-profit institutions.”  For more information on these and other statstics, click here.  How does that affect the automotive industry you may ask?  Well, these astronomical prices may deter great candidates from pursuing a college degree and then seeking employment within the industry, especially considering that employment opportunities after graduation are never guaranteed.  So, what can the automotive industry do to address this concern?  Paid vocational training.  After all, paid vocational training, which is now being referred to as the “German-style” training, has been extremely effective in putting great candidates in the right positions in Germany for years. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Henry Ford and Oakland Community Colleges, and eleven German auto suppliers with operations in Michigan are in the process of implementing a “German-style” paid apprentice program in the State that has already been endorsed by the Governor.   There is already a trial run apprentice program at the Henry Ford Community College with a focus on teaching apprentices the mechatronics trade – i.e., learning to manage automated assembly lines.  Under this program, the apprentices work 40 hours a week in the classroom or on the job, and get paid approximately $200 per week.  There are also plans for a second class of mechatronics apprentices this fall, and possibly two new programs, in industrial design and information technology.  As Sophie Stepke, who has been tasked with starting an apprentice program for her employer in Michigan, explained: “Detroit... Michigan... is all about auto manufacturing - so have students (start) being trained in that area and then let's see it comes down to all professions.”  For more information on this new venture, click here.

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