- Smithfield Food announced a new apprenticeship program intended to develop talent in skilled trade positions. The program, which includes current workers, high school graduates and veterans, provides participants with engineering and mechanic training while they earn associate degrees. The apprentices will receive free tuition, salary and benefits as they move through the program.
- Smithfield launched this program at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina. It will expand the program across the nation by partnering with colleges located near Smithfield facilities, it said in a news release. Another partnership is in the works with Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, to launch another apprenticeship program for the company next year.
- Smithfield partnered also with NCWorks, a job resource for employers and candidates, as well as ApprenticeshipNC, which helps businesses create flexible hiring and training solutions.
As the employment market continues to strain employers, apprenticeships are popping up across the country steadily. About a year ago, Wisconsin Oven launched its Wisconsin Oven Universal Training Center and its an earn-while-you-learn program to build a pipeline of workers. Larger companies have benefited from the apprenticeship, too. Nearly two-thirds of Frito-Lay's manufacturing sites, for example, have partnered with local colleges to reskill current employees and attract new ones.
As more and more businesses launch apprenticeship programs, organizations are seeing movements from the federal government on the same topic. The Trump administration announced details about its plan to expand apprenticeship programs in June. Before these details were announced, the U.S. Department of Labor defined apprenticeship programs as including both paid work and educational or instructional time.