Learn while you earn, manufacturing needs apprenticeships to build its workforce. 


“We need skilled workers, we need to develop a credentialed workforce. They need to be trained, and there’s no better place to train them than inside our own plants right here.”
Diane Karlin, Erie Regional Manufacturer Partnership project manager

At just 23, Mike Field has a life many of his high school classmates who went on to college can’t even dream of yet. He has bought a house. He’s engaged to be married. He even has a new puppy, named Ryder.

“I know college gives you ‘the hardware’ — the diploma — but from what I’ve seen, experience counts too, and I’m learning every day,” he said. “At the same time, I’m earning a paycheck.”

Field chose to go to work at Industrial Sales and Manufacturing (ISM) after high school instead of attending college. Officials from the company, located at 2609 W. 12th St., chose him to continue on in a formal apprentice role last year. As an apprentice, Field spends time in each department of the manufacturing sections of the company, becoming skilled at each area before moving on to the next, said Lori Dever, ISM’s workforce development manager. By the time the apprenticeship is complete, Field will have received a nationally recognized certificate of apprenticeship, coupled with more than a dozen National Institute for Metalworking Skills credentials.


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News, Workforce / Skills Gap