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Apprenticeship 2000 celebrates 15 years and 100 graduates

November 15, 2010

European model offers students the opportunity to learn a trade under the guidance of skilled mentors

Blum, Inc. the U.S. subsidiary of a leading Austrian manufacturer of functional hardware for kitchen cabinets and commercial case goods, and its partner companies are celebrating fifteen years and one hundred graduates in their Apprenticeship 2000 program. This successful four year program attracts high school students from five counties in North Carolina with the promise of free college and a paycheck. The program invests over $150,000 per apprentice to create skilled manufacturing technicians that partner companies cannot find in the workforce.

Blum successfully duplicated its Austrian apprenticeship model here in the US in 1995. Although smaller than the Austrian version, the US apprenticeship program has grown to a size that fits its US skilled labor needs, with one hundred graduates over a fifteen year period.

Apprentice 2000 partner organizations include: Ameritech Die & Mold, Inc., Blum Inc., Max Daetwyler Corp., Pfaff Molds, Sarstedt, Timken, Central Piedmont Community College and the North Carolina Department of Labor. Each year, Apprenticeship 2000 recruits from twenty-seven high schools in six surrounding counties and from the workforce of participating companies. The program offers training and careers in the following areas: tool and die maker, electronics technician, CNC machinist, mold & plastics technician, machine technician, and welding fabricator.

Blum graduates receive an Associates degree in Manufacturing Technology from CPCC, a journeyman’s certificate from the North Carolina Department of Labor and a guaranteed minimum salary of $34,000 per year with no contractual requirement to stay with Blum. Graduates start work at Blum with a competitive salary and no school loans to pay back.

Karl Ruedisser, President of Blum, Inc., added that, “Without the skilled workforce that we have developed through Apprenticeship 2000, we would not be able to maintain and expand our highly automated production facility.”