NEUSTADT, Germany (Apr. 24, 2018) – Gov. Bruce Rauner, in a push for stronger apprenticeship programs in Illinois, met with company leaders, apprentices and students at the BBZ Neustadt am Rübenberge. The world-renowned vocational school and professional training center located in the Hannover region has been preparing students for the workforce for 150 years.
“I firmly believe that to strengthen Illinois’ economy we need to attract and retain skilled labor,” Rauner said. “In order to do that, we need to invest more in training and invest in our young people. Illinois has the talent and the innovative ideas that if cultivated have the potential to produce great things.”
Nearly half a million Germans enter the workforce through apprenticeship programs each year which many have noted is a major component in the country’s success in the manufacturing industry.
Rauner toured the school and learned about several of their models, including the Smart Factory Concept and strategic automotive innovation, which he hopes to incorporate into Illinois’ growing programs. To coincide with the governor’s meeting, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti visited one of those programs: YouthBuild McLean County, an apprenticeship effort in Normal, IL that provides 85 young people with training in construction, healthcare and information technology.
“Apprenticeship programs like YouthBuild create a supportive environment for students to succeed in Illinois and become leaders,” Sanguinetti said. “It’s a great program that gives young people hands on training while they are giving back to their communities.”
For every four people who leave the trades, due to retirement, health or other reasons, only one new person is supplied by apprenticeship programs to enter the trades. The governor hopes by strengthening our apprenticeship programs we can reduce turnover, improve recruitment and create a pipeline of skilled employees.
Middle skill jobs make up the largest part of Illinois’ labor market. The demand is strong for middle skill jobs and they make up the largest part of Illinois’ labor market. By 2024, 50% of all job openings are expected to be middle-skill jobs. And community college graduates are a key component of a strong competitive workforce.
“I think there is no substitute for the real world experience and hands on application that apprenticeships provide,” said President Terry Wilkerson of Rend Lake College. “This experience reinforces the skill sets provided by the college in the classroom.”
“The relevance of apprenticeships is embodied in the contextualization of the classroom experience in the real world context of working, so what has been the theoretically becomes much more relevant,” said President Kenneth Ender of Harper College.