Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. will launch an apprenticeship pilot program next year at several of its U.S. industrial sites as part of a national effort to secure U.S. manufacturing jobs and enhance American competitiveness globally.
The program will initially train 60 apprentices for roles as chemical process operators, instrumentation and equipment technicians, and analyzer technicians.
“Skills training in manufacturing is crucial for America’s global competitiveness,” says Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO at Dow Chemical. “Today, when Americans graduate from high school, there are simply too few options for skills-based continuing education. Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for the public and private sectors to partner in a meaningful way and to prepare the next generation of Americans for tomorrow’s high-skilled, high-paying advanced manufacturing careers.”
The program will offer participants two to four years of training and on-the-job experience, along with classroom instruction at local community colleges. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will be evaluated for employment opportunities at Dow.
“The highly technical nature of today’s manufacturing jobs requires identification of candidates who (have) core, foundational skills — as well as the drive and capacity to continuously learn,” says Peter Holicki, corporate vice president of operations at Dow. “Apprenticeship programs enable companies to select and develop promising individuals who possess the winning combination of the right raw talent and a passion for success. In turn, the participants enable company success.”
Holicki says the company will pilot the program at five of its manufacturing sites in Texas, as well as at its manufacturing sites in Pittsburg, California, and the Chicago area.
IN OTHER STEM NEWS, Michigan State University is launching a new program aimed at helping students pursue degrees in science-related fields.
STEM Success will offer two gateway courses — one in math and another in chemistry — designed to help eligible students transition from high school to MSU entry-level courses in the university’s engineering, natural science, and Lyman Briggs colleges.