Engaging Parents

When it comes to attracting new employees, getting parents on board is critical. Judging from this letter, one North Carolina program is doing a good job of that.


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Prospective NCTAP apprentices get an education in machining during a tour of Superior Tooling in March. (Image courtesy of Creative Technology Corp.)

In the various discussions I’ve had about workforce development with mold shop leaders, one theme continues to emerge: the importance of getting parents on board. Robbie Earnhardt, president of Wake Forest, North Carolina mold manufacturer Superior Tooling, is no exception. He and the other members of The North Carolina Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP) make a point to engage parents at every step of the way until a student is formally accepted as an apprentice. After all, even the most interested young person might never pursue a manufacturing career if his or her trusted elders maintain a view of the field as dark, dirty, dangerous and below their child’s potential.

The following letter, sent to Earnhardt by the mother of one prospective apprentice early this year after initial tours of his company and other member companies, shows the potential fruits of such efforts. Beyond this mother’s enthusiasm, it also paints a picture of the type of student for which a program like NCTAP is ideally suited.

It was great to meet you at the Open House on January 31st at Superior Tooling, and to get to participate with Morgan in both NCTAP sessions (Allied Automation and Superior Tooling).  Morgan still has not stopped talking about the apprenticeship opportunity; to me, to his friends, to anyone who will listen :-)

I must say that I think "apprenticeship" is the perfect opportunity for Morgan.  I told the folks at Allied that he "was like a kid in a candy shop" and I truly meant it.  As a toddler his toys were tools...by the time he was 4 or 5 he was taking vacuum cleaners apart, fixing and selling them at yard sales we would have.  He now builds/rebuilds computers and does other hardware/software types of things, and keeps his 1991 Ford Ranger running.  After a job shadow for school his freshman year with a middle school industrial arts teacher, the teacher called Morgan and asked if he would like to do a job shadow in his lawnmower/small engine repair business.  After that, he invited Morgan to start working for him, and Morgan still works with him.  He has also worked with a cabinet maker, and spends a week every summer with a group of folks from our church participating in Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to repair home for low income families in rural Appalachia.     

As a single (sole supporting) Mom, I don't know what I would have done without Morgan to keep stuff in our house operational.  Apprenticeship would also be a godsend for our family.  

I am not sure how the kids were supposed to "express their interest", but please be assured that Morgan is, we all are, very interested in this opportunity.  

Thanks so much!

-Malinda R.  

More information about NCTAP is available in this article from last year, which covers how the program works and how Superior Tooling got involved with it in the first place. More recent coverage can be found in this blog post, which provides a brief update on the shop’s NCTAP activities in the months since the aforementioned letter. That post also links to a May-issue article that details the shop's new mold sampling capability.