Brose North America

How Apprenticeships Bridge the Skills Gap

Feb. 20, 2019
"Apprenticeship programs that combine theoretical knowledge with hands-on training and mentoring demonstrates to employees that we care about them and their career path,” says Arnd Herwig, vice president, engineering at Brose North America.

Combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on training has proved to be a successful path for Brose North America to attract talent.

“Apprenticeship programs that combine both of those elements, as well as include mentoring programs, demonstrates to employees that we care about them and their career path,” says Arnd Herwig, vice president, engineering at Brose North America. The company, whose U.S headquarters are in Detroit,, employs 2,000 in the U.S., 5,000 in North American and 26,000 worldwide manufactures doors, seats motors and drives for Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and other auto companies. 

His company reaches out to area students to tell the story of the current state of manufacturing -- a high-tech industry that is innovative, well-paying and a great place to build a career.

To demonstrate the benefits of a career in manufacturing and attract talent, Brose uses a three-year state created apprenticeship program. The program offers students both classroom and on-the-job training. It pays students for time spent working at a company and will cover tuition. The company began the program in 2013 and in 2015 had 30 apprentices. Currently, they have 75. About 7% of the workforce in this region is in skilled trades.

Understanding the needs of the current and future workforce is important in designing apprenticeship programs. “As millennials value the opportunity to actively participate in a company’s mission, after each of the apprenticeships segments they present their work to management,” says Herwig.

Herwig believes that the industry needs to get the message out that manufacturing is an excellent place to build skills using cutting-edge technology to create innovative products.  And he’s taking that message to the Manufacturing & Technology Conference & Expo, which is being held April 1-3 in Pittsburgh. His presentation, “Grow Where You’re Planted: How Apprenticeships Nurture Talent & Dispel Manufacturing Myths will take place  April 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. from 2:30-3:30 E.T. He will provide a case study on his company’s apprenticeship program.  

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