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Chairman and CEO, Hamill Manufacturing, Penn Township, Penn.
"NTMA offered a sanctioned apprenticeship program that a lot of small manufactures wanted."
When NTMA’s Pittsburgh chapter started, back in the 1970s, the reason was that a lot of small manufacturers wanted to have a sanctioned apprenticeship program, and that was something NTMA offered.
For years, large corporate manufacturers had apprenticeship programs, and small companies didn’t. Then, over time, those large companies started to de-emphasize apprenticeship and started to offshore their manufacturing. It became evident to those of us who owned smaller companies that we needed highly trained people, and the only way to do that was through apprenticeship. There really is no other way to impart the knowledge you need in manufacturing than through some sort of structured training program.
Many of our competitors don’t have apprenticeship programs. So, as a result, when they need to replace or grow their workforce, they try to take workers from our company or from other companies, workers who are already trained. My feeling is that if you’re going to be in manufacturing, you need an apprenticeship program. It’s the responsible thing to do. And being involved in NTMA can help you establish one.