The Apprenticeship Program is through the State of Missouri. It offers the apprentices a Certificate as a Mechanical Technician once they work 2,140 hours. We started the program through an invitation from Fort Zumwalt School district.
To sign up for the program a student must have completed at least one Metals Course. They apply to the program and are reviewed by the Curriculum Coordinator at Fort Zumwalt North. Those who fit our manufacturing skills are then sent to NCC to review and interview.
2022-2023 School year we had 8 Apprentices go through NCC, 4 of them were Seniors and graduated. 3 of the graduates chose to accept Full Time positions with NCC. We have already started backfilling the 4 openings and will have 9 apprentices not counting the 3 Full Time associates who will continue in the program until they reach 2,140 hours.
As part of the program the apprentices spend time in Steel Weld (main focus), Fabrication, Galvanized Department, and Assembly. This allows them to understand how each department works together to produce products for our customers. Most of the students come to us with a basic understanding of how to weld but have not spent enough time under a hood to be production welders. We work with them to teach them everything they need to know. Along the way we make sure to support them to get good grades and focus on school. If they need time off to study for a test or to complete a school project, we support them. During the school year we ask the students when they arrive to work, “Do you have any homework?” If they say yes, we ask them to get it done in the breakroom if they brought it with them. School is always a priority, and we do everything we can to help them understand that.
This program is tailored to the student. NCC, our associates, and management have a passion for what we do, and we want to share that passion with them at their pace. Schedules are the hours the student can commit to keeping. We impress upon them the importance of making a commitment and sticking to that commitment by being accountable to yourself and others. If they want to work 4 hours a day Monday through Friday, we support that, or if they want to work 3 days a week, 4 hours per day, or if they only want to work 3 hours per day, 3 days a week. It is at their pace. There is no timeline for completion. There is an incentive to get to 500 hours worked, a pay increase. Most of the students are eager to get the increase. When they reach that mark, we celebrate it with them, and make a big deal of it in the Steel Weld Huddle Meeting. NCC is currently working with several schools, not all part of the Apprenticeship Program. Fort Zumwalt, Orchard Farms, St. Charles Community College, St. Louis Community College, North Tech, South Tech, and Lewis and Clark Career Center.
Whether they end up working full time with NCC after graduating from High School or decide to seek employment somewhere else, we are committed to teaching, mentoring, and training the Apprentices our passion and love of manufacturing.