The Dow Chemical Co. has announced that the company will launch a U.S. Apprenticeship pilot program at various Dow sites across the nation in 2015.
This pilot program supports a major initiative of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort to secure U.S. leadership in emerging technologies, create high-quality manufacturing jobs, and enhance America's global competitiveness.
“Skills training in manufacturing is crucial for America’s global competitiveness,” says Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Co. “Today, when Americans graduate from high school, there are simply too few options for skills-based continuing education. Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for the public and private sectors to partner in a meaningful way and to prepare the next generation of Americans for tomorrow’s high-skilled, high-paying advanced manufacturing careers.”
Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program Supports Advanced Manufacturing Partnership
The launch of Dow’s U.S. Apprenticeship Program pilot advances the goals and national workforce development efforts of the AMP Steering Committee 2.0, a renewed, cross-sector, public-private partnership to secure US leadership in emerging technologies that will create middle class job growth in America. As part of AMP 2.0, Dow, Alcoa and Siemens have formed a coalition to build regional apprenticeship models and create an instructional Playbook for other U.S.-based companies seeking to develop apprenticeship programs. In addition to sharing best practices gained from over 40 years of experience offering apprenticeship programs in Europe, Dow joined the coalition in committing to pilot key Playbook concepts at company facilities in America. Dow’s U.S. apprenticeship pilot supports that effort.
Within the next five years, through its U.S. Apprenticeship Program, Dow aims to develop a highly skilled technical workforce that will support business growth and advance skill development in Manufacturing and Engineering. Dow’s U.S. Apprenticeship program will offer participants two to four years of world-class training and on-the-job experience in some of the most sought after and highest earning technical specialties in the industry. Through partnerships between Dow and local community colleges, the program will combine classroom training and hands-on learning to build in-depth skills and experience. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will be evaluated for employment opportunities at Dow.
Pilot Program Will Launch at Seven Dow Locations in U.S.
Dow will pilot its U.S. Apprenticeship Program at five of its manufacturing sites in Texas (Freeport, Bayport, Deer Park, Seadrift and Texas City), as well as at its manufacturing sites in Pittsburg, California and the Chicago area. The company expects to hire approximately 60 apprentices for the pilot program in 2015, training them for roles as Chemical Process Operators, Instrumentation & Equipment Technicians and Analyzer Technicians. Dow’s Apprenticeship program will supplement existing company-sponsored training programs for those technical specialties.
“The highly technical nature of today’s manufacturing jobs requires identification of candidates who possess core, foundational skills – as well as the drive and capacity to continuously learn,” said Peter Holicki, Corporate Vice President of Operations, The Dow Chemical Company. “Apprenticeship programs enable companies to select and develop promising individuals who possess the winning combination of the right raw talent and a passion for success. In turn, the participants enable company success.”
Apprenticeship Program Helps Close Skills Gap and Fuel a Sustainable Workforce for the Future
Fueled by cost advantaged energy and raw materials, Dow and other U.S.-based manufacturers have in recent years announced plans to expand their U.S. operations and create new jobs. A recent IHS Global Insight study estimates the creation of 630,000 new jobs in U.S. manufacturing as a result of the U.S. shale gas boom, with 2800 to 3500 indirect jobs also created due to natural gas and shale exploration. However, one of the greatest challenges facing industry today is a shortage of candidates with the technical skills necessary to qualify for key roles now available in the manufacturing sector. According to the study, today more than 600,000 jobs, most of them technical, are going unfilled despite high U.S. unemployment statistics.
“Apprenticeship recruitment for technical roles is a critical component of Dow’s effort to ensure a sustainable supply of skilled workers to fill our talent pipeline as we continue to grow in the U.S.,” says Gregory Freiwald, chief human resources officer and executive vice president of Dow Chemical Co. “This is about helping to close the skills gap, supporting the sustainability of our operations and the communities in which we operate.”
Dow Chemical Co.