Bishop State, SSAB, Outokumpu Partner for Apprenticeship Program

by David Fleschen

Bishop State Community College is partnering with local steelmakers, SSAB Americas and Outokumpu Americas, to launch the first Electromechanical Technician Registered Apprenticeship program in Alabama. Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) are nationally-recognized and meet U.S. Department of Labor federal standards. The program will utilize a proven model to combine on-the-job training with related instruction, allowing participants to “earn while they learn.” The program will enable partnering employers to develop their own talent and build a sustainable pipeline of highly skilled workers.

The new Electromechanical Technician Registered Apprenticeship is competency-based and will prepare localcommunity members for high-wage, high-demand manufacturing careers at SSAB Americas and Outokumpu Americas. RA participants will learn the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) curriculum. In addition to hands-on training at the respective job site, apprentices will earn an associate degree in process and maintenance technology and the industry-recognized MSSC CPT credential.

SSAB Americas is a division of SSAB, a Nordic and US-based steel company. SSAB offers value-added products and services to create a stronger, lighter, and more sustainable world. SSAB has employees in over 50 countries, with production facilities in Sweden, Finland, and the U.S. The company operates a steel manufacturing facility in Axis, Alabama, just north of Mobile. With nearly 600 employees, the operation produces more than one million tons of quality steel plate and coil every year, with a focus on sustainability and innovation.

“We are excited to be joining with Bishop State on this important initiative,” said Tom Toner, vice president of operations for SSAB Americas. “The future of steel manufacturing depends on a skilled, diverse workforce. This program will enable us to develop our leaders of tomorrow with homegrown talent from the local community.”

Outokumpu is the global leader in stainless steel, known for its high-quality coil, strip and sheet portfolio. Outokumpu aims to be the best value creator in stainless steel, through customer orientation and efficiency. Outokumpu employs 10,000 professionals in more than 30 countries, with headquarters in Helsinki, Finland and shares listed in Nasdaq Helsinki.

Outokumpu Americas’ headquarters is located at its fully-integrated mill in Calvert, Alabama. With approximately 1,000 team members serving the Americas’ market and beyond, Outokumpu is a global leader proudly calling Alabama home.

This Registered Apprenticeship will include a pre-apprenticeship that primes interested participants for placement into the program. Pre-apprenticeship programs are high-quality pathways into Registered Apprenticeships. Applications for the Electromechanical Technician pre-apprenticeship are being accepted now for the fall 2020 semester.

“Pre-apprenticeships are an effective way to enhance registered apprenticeships and strengthen the workforce development pipeline,” stated Josh Laney, Director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. “We proudly support these meaningful apprenticeship pathways that pave the way for Alabamians to obtain fulfilling careers with great employers such as SSAB Americas and Outokumpu.”

“This consortium apprenticeship is an example of what can happen when industry comes together to tackle similar skill needs,” said Bridget Wilson, Executive Director of Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC). “Together, Outokumpu and SSAB are constructing a talent pipeline that will secure their future workforce and provide our citizens pathways towards high-skill, high-wage careers. SAWDC congratulates both Bishop and the industrial partners on this achievement.”

Bishop State was granted approval to become a sponsor for Registered Apprenticeship programs, which allows students and local businesses to participate in these nationally-recognized programs. The College is increasingly recognized as the provider of choice for advanced education and training solutions to business and industry, and it continues to deliver world-class college-level transfer and career technical education. Bishop State is Mobile’s Community College and the pulse of work-based learning throughout the Gulf Coast and the State of Alabama.

Source: Bishop State, Photo: Fotolia

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