In an effort to upskill workers, Ford Motor Co. on May 22, unveiled the newly transformed UAW-Ford Technical Training Center (TTC).
The center, a $35 million investment for Ford located in Lincoln Park, Mich., is designed to provide state-of-the-art technology training to hourly employees from the company's manufacturing plants.
“The UAW-Ford Technical Training Center allows our people to support technologies and equipment critical to keeping our plants running and provides opportunities for hourly employees to use their intelligence, skills and experience to recommend additional improvements,” said Gary Johnson, Ford chief officer, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.
The UAW and Ford replaced the infrastructure, manufacturing technology and equipment inside the existing building. The Advanced Manufacturing team helped identify manufacturing technologies used every day in Ford plants and important for skilled trades training, including 3D printers, collaborative robots, vision systems, drones and much more.
“This investment continues the job growth outlined during 2015 bargaining,” said Rory Gamble, UAW-Ford Vice President. “It is important that we are constantly training our UAW members, not only to operate the new machinery on the line but to keep it up and running. This will help with job security for our members both now and in the future.”
The skilled trades joint apprenticeship program, which is housed at the TTC, dates back to 1941. Since that time, nearly 30,000 journeypersons have graduated from the program. The UAW-Ford Joint Apprenticeship Program takes between three and four years to complete.
After passing several required courses for entry, acceptance to the Joint Apprenticeship Program is based on employee interest, a measure of employee performance history and their seniority. Once an apprentice is accepted, they must complete a minimum of 576 classroom hours, a minimum of 8,000 shop hours, plus several assessment exams. Employees are paid for their time in the classroom as well as in the plant.