Continental formalizes US Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program
Posted on 1/11/2019 8:00:00 AM.
(Seguin) -- For more than two centuries, the manufacturing industry has adopted new technologies and provided new jobs for workers. Today, the industry is experiencing exciting and exponential change, as technologies are rapidly changing the workplace. While some predicted that these new technologies would eliminate jobs, data shows that more jobs are actually being created.

In 2018, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute launched their fourth skills gap study to reevaluate their prior projections and move the conversation forward on today's hiring environment and the future of manufacturing work. The study reveals that the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of 2.5 trillion. Further, the study shows that the positions relating to digital talent, skilled production, and operational managers may be three times as difficult to fill in the next three years.

Here in Seguin, area employers, educators, as well as economic and workforce development agencies have been working together to try and address the growing skills gap within the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturers here in Seguin have been forced to get creative and try new initiatives in order to combat these issues. Recently, one of Seguin's largest manufacturers, Continental Automotive Systems, made the decision to create a formalized U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship program due to the demand for competencies and knowledge.

“Continental-Seguin has decided on two programs, 1) Mechatronics and 2) Robotics for employee development. The Apprenticeship program will have a clear direction and certification of completion. The demand for these positions in the future is significant as technology continues to evolve; which change how our business produces products for customers,” said Eric Garza-Colvin, Head of Human Relations for Continental.
“Working with Continental Automotive Systems, a company that's top priority is “Strengthening their Company by Investing in the Future of their Employees” and “Utilizing Business-Driven and Customizable Training Programs”, provided great flexibility during the development of their new Registered Apprenticeship program. Their Registered Apprenticeship program will allow Continental to cultivate their workforce in a variety of fields that is very hard to find good or experienced technicians,” said Julian Oviedo, Apprenticeship & Training Representative for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Apprenticeships are a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a highly-skilled workforce. It is an employer-driven, “learn-while-you-earn” model that combines on-the-job training, provided by the employer that hires the apprentice, with job-related instruction in curricula tied to the attainment of national skills standards. The model also involves progressive increases in an apprentice's skills and wages.

Aligned to the 2015-2030 Texas Higher Education Plan, this opportunity for higher education improves the lives of Seguin employees. The Apprenticeship Certification accents the colleges and universities education of our engineers and technicians. They develop technologies that make our lives easier to inspire, educate, and equip our employees to be their best.

“Continental-Seguin wants to encourage employees to be more knowledgeable; giving them a passion for lifelong learning. Continental-Seguin believes these programs will train our adult population, including veterans, helping them find meaningful careers. The impact of higher education is immeasurable,” said Colvin.

The apprenticeship model is said to be leading the way in preparing American workers to compete in today's economy.

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular among people looking to enter the workplace, as well as those seeking to expand their experience or develop industry specific skills. These schemes deliver valuable knowledge, proficiency and work experience, whilst providing a potential pathway to a career and salary progression. Continental's investment in creating this program will help deliver a stronger pipeline of talent for it's Seguin facility.

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