Danville’s ThyssenKrupp Presta Camshaft plant has been offering a highly successful youth apprenticeship program. Now, a new Mechatronics Apprenticeship program at the plant is being accredited by the U.S. Department of Labor.
‘’ThyssenKrupp is proud to work with our community partners in Vermilion County to achieve this accreditation,’’ says Mario Gropp, President of ThysseKrupp Presta Camshafts.
Jackson Winn is a 16-year-old junior at Schlarman Academy. He is one of the students involved in the apprenticeship program this year. ‘’It’s a really good program to be in. You get a lot of hands-on experience most people would get after college. We’re in high school and we’re still getting it. So it’s a real good way to learn about manufacturing in the outside world and how it works,’’ says Winn.
And Winn described some of the things he has been learning in the program. ‘’Right now us first year apprentices are on an on-boarding program of such. We will go through all the different lines and all the different departments and stuff for three weeks. And we’ll walk through everything. And we’ll go through different departments, like engineering and safety and all those things. And we’ll learn about those. It’s a two year program,’’ added Winn.
Bruce Rape, Dean of the Business and Technology Division at Danville Area Community College, says the college has worked closely with ThyssenKrupp. ‘’It’s been a great program, and they’re working on their NIMS Credentials. As far as the youth apprenticeship program and the new Mechatronics Program, it’s really mirrored after our Mechatronics Certificate that we’ve been doing for about the last three years. And they’ve added a few extra courses into their program for that, and we’ve started two men in that program this fall. And I think it’s going really well,’’ said Rape.
Rape adds the program offers a unique opportunity for the students involved. ‘’There’s jobs waiting! That’s the beauty of the youth apprenticeship and these Mechatronics they’re already working. The two days that the students aren’t coming to school they’re coming here to work. So they’re working two or three days a week at Presta or Crankshaft. So they’re getting paid and they’re going to school – for basically free. How are you going to beat that?’’
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer says the program teaches a great work ethic while giving the students a solid skill set. The Mechatronics Apprenticeship program includes 550 hours of related instruction at Danville Area Community College. [Note: You can click on the photos to enlarge them.]