By Joe Hendrix, Kamtek training area leader
As the Kamtek Training Area Leader, I see firsthand how beneficial the Apprenticeship Alabama program is both to our company and to the employees who use the skills they learn throughout their careers. Our manufacturing company utilizes the Apprenticeship Alabama program via the AlabamaWorks initiative.
We have two registered apprenticeship programs: Tool and Die and Multi-Craft Maintenance. Currently, we have 40 apprentices between the two programs. The apprentices learn skills from the partner community college and other people in the field to gain insight into why a job is done a particular way. This was the reason tool and die apprentice Austin Smith decided to apply for the apprenticeship. The nearly five-month apprentice learns from Jouneyman tool makers and assists overhead crane operators in their job responsibilities.
Maintenance apprentice Alan Thornton heard about the apprenticeship program as an employee through an internal job posting. He considered the apprenticeship to be a good career opportunity. Thornton enjoys working with robots and doing electrical work, which are part of the program.
It is good business for Kamtek to work with colleges to provide a portion of their training. We are able to work more closely with colleges and their technical programs to keep them informed of our needs and changes that are occurring in our industry.
Kamtek representatives present the benefits of the apprenticeship program at colleges to engage students willing to jump-start their careers. Multi-craft apprentice Brett Bynum, who assists operators in fixing breakdowns on production lines, was attracted to the opportunity for full-time employment after he completed his apprenticeship.
While Wallace State Community College serves as the main medium for Kamtek to seek apprentices, many others hear about us via word of mouth. This was the case for tool and die apprentice Daniel Gamble. Since hearing about Kamtek from his friend more than three months ago, Gamble has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by the program. Multi-craft apprentice Austin Myrick, who works in assembly maintenance, chose Kamtek because of the good things that he heard about the program from his colleagues, while he was attending
Multi-craft apprentice Billy Johnson came to Kamtek with experience as an operator. In addition to completing his degree online from Wallace State Community College, he troubleshoots problems throughout the day using robotics. Like Myrick, he heard about the apprenticeship from his colleagues at school, who were also apprentices at Kamtek.
The apprenticeship program at Kamtek attracts young people from all walks of life who are eager to use the apprenticeship as a means to provide for their families. Press maintenance apprentice and Wallace State Community College student Thomas Domingue is just one example.
After seeing a job listing about the apprenticeship, he decided that applying would be a smart career move. His decision proved to be right as he enjoys the mechanical and electrical nature of the job where his responsibilities include monitoring die changes, responding to maintenance calls and assisting technicians throughout the department.
Many of our workers have seen this program as a life path for themselves and their families. This helps us to achieve our goal of employee satisfaction at Kamtek. To learn more about the apprenticeship program visit www.apprenticeshipalabama.org. You can also visit www.alabamaworks.com for information about this and other training programs.