John Deere, a major Iowa employer with five facilities across Iowa, participates in youth apprenticeship programs in coordination with Davenport Community Schools and North Scott High School. The company has also become a champion for youth apprenticeship efforts, working with the Iowa Business Council to encourage other employers to create apprenticeship programs.
In 2018, John Deere’s market analysis found that several of its critical manufacturing and retail positions were not being filled. Because those jobs required more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree, the company realized it could meet its needs by training students and creating a long-term talent pipeline. Those students, in turn, would be exposed to multiple career pathways and learn skills on the job with little or no school debt.
The businesses are delighted to be working with the students….You can tell the students want to learn. They are learning a lot about the business to include the technical skills of welding plus the soft skills of a professional work environment.
—David Ottavianelli, director of strategic investments at John Deere
John Deere’s first apprenticeship class began in summer 2019 with nine welding apprentices. In 2020, the company employed 19 registered youth apprentices and expects to expand the program to include more students and occupational tracks, including computer numeric control operator jobs. Deere expects these programs will help fill open needs throughout the entire industry supply chain.
Read more about the John Deere apprenticeship program.