FLORIDA’S NEW SPACE COAST APPRENTICESHIPS TAKE OFF
Category: Professional Development • May 19, 2020
By Kathy Keyes Webster, AMT Exhibitions Content Manager – Correspondence
Key to Region’s Prosperity
This month nine adults, ages 18-30, will finish their first academic year in Florida’s new Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program (SCCAP). The two-year program combines academic theory with practical hands-on training to become either a mechatronics technician, an advanced CNC machinist, or a fiber composite technician.
The apprentices will finish debt-free with an engineering or aerospace technology degree from Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), relevant work experience, a guaranteed full-time position, and the promise of a lifetime career in aerospace or defense. In September 2020, SCCAP hopes to triple enrollment with 30 apprentice openings.
“Launching SCCAP is an investment in our future workforce and key to our region’s economic prosperity,” says Bryan Kamm, SCCAP Lead Advisor and Founder of Kamm Consulting Group, which offers apprenticeship development services for European companies hiring apprentices in their U.S. manufacturing locations. “With skilled baby boomers retiring, our region [the Florida Space Coast] was, and still is, facing a skilled workforce shortage in industries vital to our local economy and America’s national security. With SCCAP, we hope that Florida will no longer lose companies to the Carolinas because we now have the workforce development capabilities for advanced manufacturing."
A Gold Standard
SCCAP is based on the German apprenticeship model, which relies upon the partnering of regional companies who need to develop the same skill set and are willing to work together to implement an apprenticeship program.
SCCAP offers training on Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing equipment and is developing international apprenticeship exchange programs with Germany to better align and map world-class benchmark standards and U.S. requirements.
Since 2016, Bryan has worked tirelessly to implement a rigorous and globally competitive advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program. With Bryan’s direction, dozens of businesses, educational entities, and local, state, national, and international government organizations formed the SCCAP.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about apprenticeships,” says Bryan. “But with the right partnerships among government, school, economic development entities, and industry, the use of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and state grants, apprenticeships are a viable solution to develop the highly technical skilled workers needed for our future advanced manufacturing industries in the Space Coast.”
Resilience in a Crisis
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the apprentices continue to earn and learn on an abridged schedule and their classes have moved online. Although they are considered essential workers performing duties for companies that are part of America’s strong industrial base, their hours have been reduced or put on hold temporarily. In addition, their March trip to Germany to gain insight into that country’s manufacturing has been postponed.
The Apprentice Perspective
Even with all the changes, the program is still going strong and the apprentices are excited to be in SCCAP’s launch class. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of the aerospace industry and this apprenticeship is a great way to get started,” says 18-year-old Carolyn MacGowan, one of the first SCCAP apprentices. “I am grateful for my first paying job in aerospace, an industry that I am passionate about; a free education; and a guaranteed job when I graduate. If you’re not sure about what you want to do, but you know you want to be in aerospace, then the SCCAP is a great way to start your career. Even if you decide to further your education, this is a stepping stone toward work and a solid education. This apprenticeship has opened so many doors for me. I’m sincerely grateful for everything I have received from this opportunity, and I hope that we are able to share this with more people.”
U.S. Grants Available for Companies
In April, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of $42.5 million in Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants to support the enrollment of in-school or out-of-school youth apprentices (ages 16-24) into new or existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs.