ENGEL Launches Comprehensive Apprenticeship Program
“Within North America, apprenticeship programs are a much-needed addition to any employer’s structure to really support the foundation of the business,” states Terri Fanz-Falzone, Vice President of Human Resources for ENGEL North America. “At ENGEL, we’re providing students with free, comprehensive training on our injection molding machinery and automation systems so that they’re more than ready to join the team upon completion of the program. And due to our year over year growth, we have a high demand for technicians, so it’s a win-win.”
“What better way to achieve our technician hiring goals than to train them ourselves?” asks Vanessa Malena, ENGEL North America’s President. “And ultimately provide the support and benefits that lead to a long-term career.”
“Our goal with the program is to provide the next generation with the tools to succeed in the fields of injection molding and automation – including robotics, says Fanz-Falzone. “We believe this will lead to ENGEL’s future growth in the industry.”
“Essentially, we are investing in our service and mechatronics technicians for the future,” adds Malena.
The apprentice program is certified and registered within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and lasts four years with a combination of on-the-job experience and classroom-based instruction. Graduates of the program will receive an offer of full-time non-exempt employment at ENGEL, as well as the nationally recognized Journeymen’s certification.
“Our Apprentices are fully paid during the program, which includes all hours worked as well as the time spent in formalized education. For the first five months, students will live in corporate housing in York, Pennsylvania, attending classroom instruction for four hours a day and then participating in hands-on instruction for the other four hours with our experienced assemblers,” Fanz-Falzone explains. “During that time, they’ll develop relationships with the executive management team and gain a full understanding of what ENGEL is all about.”
After this initial training period, apprentices will then return to live in their own homes and travel to customers with ENGEL’s field service technicians to learn the full extent of the position. Over the four years, students will return annually to ENGEL’s York, PA headquarters to attend a series of formalized education programs conducted by MASCPA (Manufacturing Association of South Central Pennsylvania).
“Prospective apprentices should know they will not be alone,” Malena explains. “They’ll be trained by certified assemblers on our warehouse floor and then on the road with one-on-one mentors who will guide them every step of the way.”
“Another nice benefit is the built-in step increases in pay,” Fanz-Falzone goes on to say. “For every six months successfully completed, apprentices will receive an increase.”
In addition to paid training, benefits for apprentices include shared company vehicles and paid round-trip flights home during major United States holidays.
ENGEL recently brought on several program graduates, including a group of Mechatronics Technicians for the Automation division.
Feedback from hirees from the program has been overwhelmingly positive – citing the family-oriented atmosphere at ENGEL, comprehensive hands-on training, knowing that they are making a difference and competitive pay and benefits as major reasons for joining the ENGEL team.
The program is now in its second round, with 13 apprentices. So far, ENGEL has received over 1,275 applications – which only highlights the interest of talent in this type of education as well as the great potential of apprenticeship programs for companies. ENGEL anticipates hiring five more apprentices in early 2023 from across the USA and one from Canada.
As many production companies struggle with a shortage of skilled labor, education and training programs have become more critical than ever.
Earlier this year, the US and Austrian governments agreed to advance apprenticeship and professional training in a memorandum, highlighting the importance of this topic on both an economic and political level. As a result, ENGEL North America was honored to present its apprenticeship program in front of a delegation from the Austrian Federal Council.
ENGEL’s US based apprenticeship programs also received attention at the Select USA Summit, led by the US Department of Commerce to facilitate investment into the USA. At the Select USA reception at the Swiss Residence in Washington, DC, Secretary of Commerce Raimondo recognized the apprenticeship programs presented by American subsidiaries of companies based in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria (represented by ENGEL Machinery). Mark Sankovitch, Regional President ENGEL North America and Terri Fanz-Falzone, explained how formalized training and hands-on work makes ENGEL’s apprenticeship program more than just an internship or job rotation program.
Apprenticeship programs are commonplace in Austria, where ENGEL’s headquarters are situated. Usually, young adults (15 years and older) learn a trade following a standardized curriculum, including hands-on and classroom training. After at least three years of apprenticeship, the trainees have to pass an exam and receive a certificate that is acknowledged at least nationwide.
In 2021, ENGEL North America started the first round of its apprenticeship program with a focus on field service technicians. Mechatronics engineer apprentices joined the program in 2022.
The second group of ENGEL apprentices learn hands-on what is most important for customers: good parts.
Pass on expertise from one generation to the next. The apprenticeship program is as valuable for experienced team members as it is for the new ones. Mutual respect sparks team spirit and motivates to face challenges together.
ENGEL North America's apprenticeship program is also a great opportunity for women to enter the world of injection molding.