A new workforce education program at Onondaga Community College has reimagined the typical process of finding a career in the growing manufacturing industry. The Apprenticeship Accelerator Career Training Program is designed to give 10 Central New Yorkers an opportunity to change jobs and also earn a paycheck from a choice of four local companies. Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at OCC Mike Metzgar said a four year paid-apprenticeship is guaranteed after 10 weeks of training.
“We’re flipping the model that normally you will train people in something that is economically relevant and you hope when they graduate that they will get a job. We have always helped them with that,” said Metzgar. “The AACT model kind of takes the model and starts building backwards, so what we do is start with employers that are willing to guarantee a job.”
Local employers participating in the program include Bartell Machinery Systems in Rome, Kilian Manufacturing in Syracuse, Precision Systems Manufacturing in Liverpool and Stickley in Manlius. Metzgar explained the program provides training specifically for positions with an increasing demand in the Syracuse area.
“I think we’re seeing a big uptick. Jobs have been coming up, we’re seeing investment in the area, and I think people just have to kind of relearn what the jobs are,” said Metzgar.
Modeled after a similar program in Madison County, the AACT will allow students to be trained as either a CNC machinist, machinist, tool maker or maintenance mechanic regardless of previous experience.
“People who have been working in a good but dead end job for the last X amount of time can now have the opportunity to start training while you’re in school and keep enough of a paycheck coming in to allow money to flow in,” said Metzgar.
He added the rigorous training prepares students to transition from training to an apprenticeship and then a life-sustaining career.
“While you’re in the program it’s really intense. You have 40 hours of class. You probably have another 15 to 20 hours of homework. We barely run the students to the gauntlet. But the hope is when they finish, if they can make it through this, they can be prepared when they get out,” said Metzgar.
Metzgar said a path into manufacturing is for people who want to jump start a career and might have an outdated perception of the industry.
“You’ve never thought about manufacturing? It’s a fantastic job. It comes with a long term commitment from employers. The wages are outstanding. It’s a growth industry,” said Metzgar. “If you don’t know what it is, don’t rule yourself out. If you’re looking for a better job, if you’re looking for a better future, come to our information session on the 20th and consider this.”
An information session on the program will be held on Tuesday, February 20 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at OCC’s Coulter Library. To find out more visit AACTJobs.com.