G&W ELECTRIC - TECHNICAL APPRENTICESHIPS
G&W Electric has been a global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905. Our product offerings include overhead and underground distribution switches, Lazer® Automation solutions, reclosers, distribution and transmission cable accessories, and current limiting system protection devices. Our products are designed to the latest industry standards and backed by over 110 years of engineering expertise. The result is time-proven, reliable performance.
We offer much more than just quality products however. Combining cutting-edge design and manufacturing technology with world-class ISO certified quality systems; G&W specializes in custom solutions to meet specific customer requirements.
Procuring and retaining employees with the right skillset to fill positions in maintenance and production welding proved challenging over G&W’s long history. Further, advances in technology and processes required updating the capabilities possessed by current employees.
G & W Electric partnered with Illinois BIS to develop an assessment battery that accurately reflected the required knowledge and skillset for the jobs and products identified. Illinois BIS conducted pre-training assessments to current personnel; this identified strengths, weaknesses, and a fair starting point for training current personnel.
From the results of the assessment process, Illinois BIS designed apprenticeship programs specifically geared toward the identified needs. Employees who demonstrated a strong work ethic, interest in self-improvement, and exhibited a proven work history were selected as program participants. The programs consisted of traditional classroom-based training to provide foundational knowledge from which participants could draw when solving practical problems, to hands-on training using the very equipment participants would utilize while on the job. Additionally, an on-the-job training program was incorporated so that program participants would have practical work experience provided by in-house leadership and experts, that directly correlated to lessons learned in the classroom and shop.
A pilot Apprenticeship to fill Maintenance positions proved so successful that additional Apprenticeship programs were created by Illinois BIS to fill positions for Electrical Technicians and Welder/Fabricators. As G & W Electric’s business has grown, additional iterations of all of the Apprenticeship Programs have been executed, with equally positive results.
Several key points have been identified as factors for G & W Electric’s satisfaction with the Apprenticeship Program:
1. Affordability – Grant support administered by Illinois BIS reduced costs
2. Convenience – Instruction was entirely implemented on-site, scheduling of coursework coincided with shiftwork and production demands
3. Effective –
- Programs were developed to address specific business needs.
- Participants were hand-selected based on proven job performance history.
- Hands-on training was conducted on-site using the very equipment that participants would be utilizing on the job.
- In-house experts were guided to provide unique “insider” knowledge related to specialized processes and equipment.
Through the dedication of Illinois BIS and G&W’s Maintenance Team, the program finished in 2 years instead of the planned 3-year program. The Apprentices have nothing but good things to say about the program. To quote one of the Apprentices, “It is a life changer. I can see myself going somewhere now. A lot of people don’t get this opportunity”.
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