Four students from Ozarks Technical Community College’s Career Center signed employment agreements with Springfield Remanufacturing Corp. today to begin work as registered apprentices this summer. The OTC Career Center is a half-day program that allows high school juniors and seniors to take technical education courses at OTC while still attending their hometown high schools.
The four students will train to become Industrial Manufacturing Technicians and will work on the manufacturing floor at SRC. Typically, a person must be at least 18 years old to work in manufacturing, but the Department of Labor allows people as young as 16 to work in manufacturing if it is through a registered apprenticeship.
“This is an example of how OTC aligns its curriculum to match the needs of local employers,” said OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon. “These four students have a great opportunity to begin their SRC careers and earn an education while they’re still teenagers.”
To best match the students’ education to the skills SRC needs them to master, OTC created a new pathway called Industrial Engineering Technology that combines aspects of Industrial Systems Technology and Machine Tool Technology.
The four students are:
- Dakota Eckerson, Republic High School, 2018 high school graduate
- Dustin Barton, Fordland High School, Class of 2019
- Lane Owens, Fordland High School, Class of 2019
- Keaton Owens, Seymour High School, Class of 2019
Only Eckerson has graduated from high school and will continue with his associate degree in the fall while completing his apprenticeship. The other three students are rising seniors. They will attend the OTC Career Center and their respective high schools in the fall and will have an opportunity to continue their apprenticeships in the summer of 2019.
Career Center graduates typically graduate from high school with 40 hours of college credit, and can complete an associate degree in a couple of semesters after high school. When these four students complete their apprenticeships and their associate degrees, they will be eligible for employment at SRC.
“This is a transformative opportunity for these four young men who have shown an interest and aptitude for what we do,” said Scot Scobee, SRC director of human resources. “We’re excited to bring on some new talent who will benefit from the experience of our long-term workers.”
The manufacturing industry is facing an aging workforce. According to the Manufacturing Institute, the median age of the manufacturing workforce in 2000 was 40.5 years of age. By 2012, the median age had reached 44.7.
The OTC Career Center partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, along with SRC, to develop these registered apprenticeships.