Viega LLC has enrolled its second class of 10 students in its Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program. Five students began the program in January and another five are scheduled to start in May, after graduating from high school.
The new session joins the inaugural class of six students, who, so far, have completed one year of the three-year program. Enrolled students receive a three-year associate degree paid in full by Viega, in addition to receiving a paid position for working in Viega’s plastics, metals, machining or maintenance divisions, and the potential to earn other employee benefits. Upon graduation from the apprenticeship program, graduates will be offered full-time positions at Viega. The apprenticeship program through Viega is a collaborative effort with Hutchinson Community College.
“This program is one strategy that we are using at Viega to respond to the labor shortage that we are experiencing across the nation,” explains Eric Wicker, director of manufacturing at Viega. “Our apprenticeship program lays the groundwork for building future technical talent, especially as our manufacturing facility continues to expand.”
Currently, two students from the inaugural class are receiving specialized training in plastics technology from Pittsburg State University, a school recognized for its Plastics Engineering Technology Program that emphasizes detailed technical knowledge, as well as real world application.
“As the apprenticeship program continues to evolve and gain momentum, we are pleased not only to add additional students, but also that our current students are learning and progressing through the program,” adds Wicker. “We’ve had positive responses from both the students and the Viega employees who work alongside them.”
The students work beside tenured Viega employees at its central, 439,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in McPherson that opened in 2009 and home to its vertically integrated PEX manufacturing. Another 80,000 square-foot facility on the campus opened in 2016 and houses the production of Viega MegaPress fittings, and the newest, 90,000-square-foot facility will begin producing ProPress copper fittings in summer 2018.
Viega is also designing an apprenticeship training lab that gives students hands-on experience with robotics, machining and tooling, as well as a processing lab.
Hutchinson Community College was established in 1928 and offers more than 1,300 courses for more than 120 majors. HCC programs are advised by industry leaders, who ensure its programs are meeting employer needs and that its students are work-force ready. Its programs are also industry-certified, increasing employment opportunities for its graduates.
For more information or to enroll in a future session, contact Jeff Glimpse at [email protected] or (316) 303-6621.