GRANITEVILLE, S.C, 31 May 2012. Known for its technological leadership in the area of power and propulsions systems, Tognum has now added educational leadership to its portfolio through a new program that will kick off this fall at its MTU Aiken Plant.
Last week, representatives of Tognum America Inc., a subsidiary of Tognum AG, were invited to meet with representatives of the White House and the U.S. Department of Education, to discuss a planned apprenticeship program for high school students in Aiken County, S.C. The event was designed to be a roundtable discussion of ideas regarding programs aimed at improving education and helping more young Americans gain vocational training and enter the workforce without a college degree.
Joerg Klisch, vice president of North American operations, and Arjonetta Gaillard, senior human resources generalist, were joined at the meeting by leaders of the Aiken County Public School District, the Aiken County Career and Technical Center, Aiken Technical College and Apprenticeship Carolina. Together, the group shared Tognum America’s vision for helping high school students get a head start on a career in industrial manufacturing through its new apprenticeship program.
The program, which will be produced in partnership with the Aiken County School District, the Aiken County Career and Technology Center, and Aiken Technical College, will combine high school education, classroom technical training, and hands-on learning at the MTU Aiken Plant. Six new high school juniors will be enrolled in the program each school year, beginning this fall.
“Our invitation to the White House was a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the training gap that exists for many high school graduates in America,” said Klisch. “Our meeting also enabled us to encourage other companies to consider using our ideas, and to encourage the government to share our ideas with other states and organizations. We believe strongly that our new apprenticeship program will help the community and our business grow together, and we would love to see the program’s model implemented in other states and industries.”
“South Carolina boasts the fastest growth in registered apprenticeship programs across the nation,” said Brad Neese, director of Apprenticeship Carolina. “Apprenticeship Carolina has played a key role in this phenomenal growth. We credit our outstanding partnerships and an innovative approach of growing apprenticeship through non-traditional occupations with our success. This roundtable gave us the opportunity to raise awareness of registered apprenticeship as a proven tool to address existing skills gap. It also allowed us to demonstrate the importance of innovation and partnership in the approach.”
Tognum AG, the parent company of Tognum America, has implemented a similar apprenticeship program at its facilities in Friedrichshafen, Germany for 30 years. Currently, 76 students are enrolled in the German program, which boasts a 100% graduation rate.