This week is National Apprenticeship Week, and during Governor Pete Ricketts’ trade mission to Germany, he is highlighting Nebraska’s innovative German-style apprenticeship program. Today, Gov. Ricketts visited the international headquarters of CLAAS during his trade mission to Germany. CLAAS, a prominent manufacturer of agricultural equipment, located its North American headquarters in Omaha.
“Apprenticeships are key to helping connect the next generation of Nebraskans to great opportunities,” said Gov. Ricketts. “The German-style apprenticeship program launched by CLAAS takes apprenticeship programming in Nebraska to the next level. We look forward to seeing this program flourish, and hope to expand it in the coming years with additional companies.”
Earlier this year, CLAAS become one of the first two companies to launch Nebraska’s first Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) Apprenticeship Program, designed for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics. The ICATT Apprenticeship Program is fully embedded in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship system and is also certified to the rigorous standards of the famed German Dual Education System. ICATT was established by the German American Chamber of Commerce® of the Midwest, Inc. and is open to any manufacturer who wants to build a sustainable pipeline of talent. ICATT apprenticeships train to Germany standards of excellence and culminate in a degree.
“CLAAS sees that an investment in people ensures long-term success,” said Alex Pompa, the Production Trainer at CLAAS Omaha. “The German model, we believe, is the gold standard apprenticeship model and this is why we are looking to enable our global workforce through a strategic implementation of the Dual Study program. Our investment in those principles ensures that we are ready for the future of agriculture and the future of manufacturing. This is true at our locations around the world, including our Omaha location where it is understood that today’s employees entering the manufacturing space rely on us as manufacturers to grow their skills and prepare them to be successful.”
Nebraska has been a leader in establishing apprenticeships programs. Earlier this year, the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) received a grant from the USDOL to expand Registered Apprenticeships across the state. The Apprenticeship State Expansion grant covers the next three years and will allow NDOL to assist businesses with new program development. From October 2016 to July 2019, RA program participation grew by over 40 percent.
In Nebraska, there are currently over 120 RA programs in Nebraska and 4,696 Registered Apprentices, including over 3,700 new apprentices in 2019.