Representatives from German-based Festo Corporation and the European-American Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati visited Stober Drives in Maysville recently to learn about Stober’s workforce development and apprenticeship programs.
Kay Moss, Human Resource Manager, at Stober explained the apprenticeship program to the visitors. “Our apprenticeship program is a combination of on-the-job and classroom training. Our apprentices are paid 40 hours per week; 30 hours are spent on the job and 10 hours are spent in technical education.”
Stober has had 15 apprentices since the program started in 2005. Apprentices are employed in a wide variety of positions including accounting, customer service, engineering, technical sales, information technology, marketing, maintenance and machining. The Stober apprenticeship program is registered with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.
Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) is an educational partner in the apprenticeship program. Stober apprentices are connected with an MCTC advisor who guides them through their educational program which is tailored to meet the specific needs of the employee and requirements of the position at Stober.
Employees in the program come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Robert Brandon was taking classes at MCTC and working as a cooperative education student at Stober when he learned of a marketing apprenticeship position. He is now enrolled in marketing and information technology classes toward his General Occupational/Technical Studies degree, while managing the Stober website. Khrysten Childers was able to transfer some of her previous college hours to get a jump start on her Associate degree. She works in Customer Service and is managing the Learning Management System at Stober.
Landon Garrison is a Supervisor at Stober after competing two apprenticeship programs. Originally, Landon received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Computerized Manufacturing and Machining from MCTC while working in the machining area at Stober, then continued on to get his engineering degree from NKU.
Moss said, “We like to hire local people; their families are here and they tend to stay. But it can be difficult to find the skill set needed for certain positions. Apprenticeship has been the solution, giving us great people who are eager to learn and fit well in our culture while providing the framework for developing the skills we need to operate our workplace to a high standard.”
All educational and employment costs of apprentices are paid by Stober and the company has realized a much quicker return on investment than expected. Peter Feil, VP/General Manager at Stober explains, “We start capturing the benefits of the advanced training almost immediately as our employees are exposed to fresh ideas and technology through their education and then bring them to our workplace”,
The visitors were impressed with the young talent pool that has been created at Stober Drives. “Thanks for sharing your approach with us and for letting us experience your success first-hand. We truly enjoyed speaking with all of your apprentices - very remarkable young people.” remarked Carolin McCaffrey, Director Business Development and Member Solutions with the European-American Chamber of Commerce.