Lakes Region Community College integral to success of ApprenticeshipNH CNC machining program
EPTAM Plastics and Freudenberg Sealing Technologies employees learn together through workforce training program partnership
Instructors from the Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) Advanced Manufacturing program are bringing their expertise to Northfield-based EPTAM Plastics, where the manufacturing company is hosting an ApprenticeshipNH training program for CNC machinists. There, instructors – including senior employees trained as ApprenticeshipNH instructors – meet with not only EPTAM employees striving to gain industry knowledge, but also workers from nearby Freudenberg Sealing Technologies who are also enrolled in the hands-on apprenticeship program. This unique model leverages strong partnerships between industry participants and the Community College System of New Hampshire for in-class instruction as well as hands-on training.
“This partnership empowers companies in industries where workforce shortages are most severe to share resources and upskill existing employees with the goal of promoting them to advanced positions,” said Emily Zeien, grant manager for ApprenticeshipNH. “EPTAM Plastics and Freudenberg Sealing Technologies are a great example of related companies being creative rather than competitive for the betterment of their employees and New Hampshire’s advanced manufacturing sector as a whole.”
The eight student participants from EPTAM and five from Freudenberg receive college credit from LRCC for completing the Machine Tool Match course through ApprenticeshipNH. The course is one of a half dozen that apprentices will participate in over the course of their apprenticeship. Because the program is designed for apprentices to earn while they learn, they’ll also receive their regular paychecks for time spent in on-the-job training, along with planned wage increases as they progress through the three-year program. Admission into the ApprenticeshipNH program at Freudenberg was highly selective, with more than 30 applicants for the five spots.
The differing specific needs of each company makes collaboration more attainable, especially in a tight job market where New Hampshire’s unemployment rate remains low. Apprentices learn fundamental approaches in math and engineering together, but apply them differently when they return to the shop floor. Freudenberg is a global manufacturer of sealing products ranging from customized individual solutions like gaskets and hydraulic seals, to sealing components for electric vehicles, such as membranes, high-precision molded parts, and other products for the automotive, aviation, engineering, and shipbuilding sectors, as well as others. EPTAM is a full-service precision machining company that manufactures plastics and other components for medical devices, semiconductors, aerospace, and emerging industries such as oil and gas.
Because EPTAM and Freudenberg apply their employees’ skills in different ways, the learning environment is a positive and collaborative one which builds loyalty within the industry and within each company. And, according to participants in the program now, learning with individuals from another company makes pursuing professional development less intimidating. The fact that Lakes Region Community College brings the program on-site, or at a convenient location near their place of employment, removes other barriers for participants such as investments in travel and time.
To learn more about the ApprenticeshipNH program, including additional opportunities, visit earnlearnnh.org, or contact Emily Zeien at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Lakes Region Community College visit LRCC.edu.
The ApprenticeshipNH Program, housed at the Community College System of New Hampshire, is a unique effort that prepares workers as Registered Apprentices to better compete in the modern workforce. Focusing on the Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology sectors, the ApprenticeshipNH Program provides workers with invaluable opportunities to pursue highly-skilled, high-paying jobs, and opportunities for employers seeking to build a qualified workforce in NH. The program is funded through a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
About Lakes Region Community College
Lakes Region Community College is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire that serves over 1,200 students annually. LRCC offers 28 associate degree programs including Nursing, Fire Technology, Business, Media Arts, Culinary Arts, Automotive, and Marine Technology, as well as short-term certificate programs. In addition, LRCC provides a strong background in Liberal Arts for students who choose to do their first two years at a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university for a baccalaureate degree. LRCC is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.