ZF Apprenticeship Program Addressed at LCDC Meeting

At the May meeting of Laurens County Development Corporation this week,  ZF’s newly appointed Apprentice Supervisor, Robbie Ellis, made a presentation concerning the Apprentice Program at ZF. Ellis, who has spent many years in employee training at Cryovac, explained how the program allows students to attend Piedmont Tech in pursuit of an Associates Degree in Mechatronics “tuition free,” while working part time at ZF. He said that upon completion, students are offered a full time position at ZF, starting at $60.000 a year. Ellis said there are currently 7 apprentices in the program and he has 91 candidate applications for the next class. He said more types of apprenticeships will be offered in the future. He also spoke on the culture of apprenticeships as being somewhat new in the US, but very popular in Europe. He said Germany is the world standard for apprenticeships with 55% of students in these programs in Germany. Ellis added that students in the US who go thru apprenticeship programs graduate earn $55,000 or more per year.

Robbie Ellis said that he will be working with other industries to help them with these type of programs. He noted he is meeting with Fukoku to discuss their plans to start a program.

Dillon Qualls, the recent award-winning Mechatronics graduate from Piedmont Tech, was also on hand at the Tuesday afternoon LCDC meeting to discuss his experience with the program and his new job at ZF.