For many manufacturing companies, it is an ongoing challenge to find workers who have the advanced knowledge, skills, and experience they need. The manufacturing labor shortage is expected to reach 2.4 million by 2028, and companies are looking for solutions that will help combat the widening skills gap.

Skilled Manufacturing, Inc., a Tier 1 automotive, aerospace and medical component manufacturer in Traverse City, Michigan, partnered with the MAT² Apprenticeship Program five years ago to invest in a pipeline of new talent for the company.

“One of the main challenges we face in hiring is finding people who meet the skill level for the work that we do,” said Jennifer Cochrun, Director of Human Resources at Skilled Manufacturing. “It’s also hard to find people who have a commitment to our team and a desire to continually learn.”

To date, Skilled Manufacturing trained six apprentices through the MAT² Apprenticeship Program in cooperation with Baker College of Cadillac, and the company has already experienced the benefits of supporting their education and training.

“The program provides a lot of hands-on knowledge to the students,” said Jennifer. “They receive the classroom instruction, but then they come back to work and apply it to real-life business solutions for the company. They have great ideas and a fresh set of eyes looking for continuous improvement. They’ve come up with new solutions out on our manufacturing floor and new processes. We have seen in an immediate return on investment.”

Jennifer said she would recommend MAT² to other manufacturing companies facing similar hiring and retention challenges.

“We strongly believe that by investing in their education and careers, we build a long-lasting relationship with them,” she said. “As they become full-time employees with us, they usually want to be continuous learners and are looking for advancement opportunities. I think that by supporting the program, you have a positive impact on an individual’s life, which in turn has a positive impact on the community that you operate in, as well as in your own company.”

Learn more about the benefits of the MAT² Apprenticeship Program.

Current MAT² apprentices are pictured below: