Schaeffler has expanded its award-winning manufacturing apprenticeship program in the United States. Schaeffler is preparing to award journeyman tool and die certification to the first group of apprentices to complete the company’s three-and-a-half-year training program at its Fort Mill, South Carolina, location.
Schaeffler Americas CEO Bruce Warmbold underscored the importance of apprenticeship programs to Schaeffler’s long-term growth, saying, “Highly qualified employees are the most important pillar for the future success of Schaeffler in the U.S. Our award-winning apprenticeship programs are among the most important training investments we can make in our workforce to ensure that success.”
“Schaeffler continues to invest in the people of South Carolina, and for that we are extremely grateful,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “The development of a future workforce is critical to sustaining economic growth. With this expanded apprenticeship program, Schaeffler is showing its commitment to training South Carolinians for future jobs, and we’re excited for the opportunities that this initiative will create for the people of our state.”
The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based manufacturer of bearings and precision components says it is committed to the continuing education of its employees. It says that it recognized early on that the key to its manufacturing success in the U.S. is a well-trained workforce, and has been offering apprenticeship programs in the United States for 37 years.
In March of this year, the company’s apprenticeship programs were highlighted at the White House when Schaeffler Group CEO Klaus Rosenfeld joined President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a roundtable discussion on vocational training programs and continuing education in the United States. In his remarks at the conclusion of the White House meeting, Rosenfeld reinforced the company’s commitment to vocational training, “As a global family business, providing our employees with vocational training and continuing education opportunities is a tradition that we have always held in the highest regard. We look forward to continuing this tradition, in particular with regard to the significant changes that our industry is facing and the need to combine mechanics, electronics and systems know-how. This is not only our social responsibility as an employer, but also our way to ensure long-term competitiveness.”
Launched in early 2014, Schaeffler’s Fort Mill apprenticeship curriculum builds upon the success of similar vocational training programs the company has offered in Wooster, Ohio, since 1980, and in Cheraw, South Carolina, since 1988. These comprehensive three-and-a-half-year programs are modeled after the German practice of combining on-the-job training with classes at a vocational school. The success of these programs is evidenced by the more than 500 graduates now working at various Schaeffler sites, according to the company.
Upon completion of the Fort Mill program, graduating apprentices receive an associate’s degree in either machine tool technology (tool and die) or industrial maintenance from York Technical College as well as an Apprenticeship Certificate/Journeyman’s Card from the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, graduating apprentices are given a guaranteed two-year job assignment with Schaeffler. Top graduates also are encouraged to continue their studies toward an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in engineering, thereby enabling the company to bolster its engineering talent.
Schaeffler’s Fort Mill campus currently has 14 apprentices studying toward their associate’s degree, while 11 others are completing their on-the-job training. Three of the apprentices from the latter group are preparing to receive their Journeyman Tool & Die certification this summer.
In the past 10 years, Schaeffler has invested more than $35 million in its U.S. apprenticeship programs at its facilities in South Carolina and Ohio, during which time the company has graduated 216 apprentices.