GREENVILLE, S.C., Sept. 23, 2019 — Michelin in partnership with Greenville County Schools recognized its 2019/2020 class of Michelin Tech Scholars and Youth Apprenticeship students at a collegiate-style “signing day” event, held today at the Michelin Conference Center.
The celebration reaffirms Michelin and Greenville County Schools’ shared mission of investing in education, training and career readiness to support and advance careers in manufacturing.
“Manufacturing today is highly technical and highly automated,” said David Stafford, chief human resources officer for Michelin North America. “These programs allow students to experience modern, advanced manufacturing while exploring careers in industry that lead to solid earnings and opportunities.”
“Michelin continues to serve as an outstanding partner, not just for Greenville County Schools, but also for individual students and families,” said Dr. W. Burke Royster, Greenville County Schools Superintendent. “The opportunities available to these student apprentices to learn modern-day, automated manufacturing from a fortune 500 company whose presence in the Upstate has helped define our local economy for over 30 years, has the power to transform and improve their lives.”
“The Michelin Tech Scholars program opens additional doors to post-secondary education ranging from industry certifications to post-graduate degrees,” continued Royster. “In many ways, Michelin has provided a template for partnerships between businesses and school systems and has helped ensure our Graduation Plus initiative for career and college readiness results in a tangible path for students to realize their life goals.”
Michelin launched its Tech Scholar program more than 30 years ago. In partnership with local technical colleges, the program introduces high school seniors and graduates pursuing two-year degrees to opportunities available in advanced manufacturing. Students work part-time for Michelin as a Michelin employee while attending a technical college. The program reinforces classroom knowledge through on-the-job training, and Michelin offers tech scholars a full scholarship, covering tuition, fees and books. Upon graduation, interested and qualified students join Michelin as reliability technicians, earning salaries comparable to graduates with four-year college degrees.
“The Tech Scholar program serves as an excellent example of what is possible when industry and education join together to grow the workforce of the future,” said Dr. Jermaine Whirl, vice president for learning and workforce development at Greenville Technical College. “We are proud to partner with Michelin on this important effort and to celebrate young people who are choosing this pathway to strong careers in advanced manufacturing.”
More than 900 tech scholars have progressed through the program since its inception. Currently, Michelin sponsors 70 tech scholars at Michelin sites across the U.S.
Michelin’s Youth Apprenticeship program was launched in 2018. This hands-on learning experience provides a minimum of 2,000 paid hours of on-the-job training with a Michelin mentor in a Michelin manufacturing facility, in addition to 240 hours of customized instruction at a career center. The program is designed to provide a pathway to transition students into the Michelin Tech Scholar program.
Five students from Hillcrest, Greer, J.L. Mann, and Mauldin high schools were recognized at 2019/2020 signing event, including the first graduate of the Youth Apprenticeship program to transition to a Michelin Tech Scholar.
“We are living in the most competitive employment market in 50 years,” Stafford said. “Michelin understands that today’s young people have career choice. We also believe that more students and parents should be aware of the long-term value and growth opportunities in manufacturing careers.”
“Each year, Michelin hires and trains approximately 150 highly skilled reliability technicians across the United States,” Stafford said. “These are the types of roles for which the students in the programs are training. These programs prepare students to hit the ground running if they choose to become reliability technicians with Michelin, where they will immediately earn salaries comparable to graduates with a four-year college degree. It is an exciting and valuable opportunity.”
This past May, Michelin’s Youth Apprenticeship program achieved national certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Both programs are part of Michelin’s workforce development initiatives to advance opportunities for employment.