Milwaukee — Apprenticeships are hot right now because of the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers. But Ronn Cort said keeping apprentices is the hard part.
Cort is chief operating officer and president of sheet extruder Sekisui Polymer Innovations LLC, based in Bloomsburg, Pa. His company, known as SPI, offers apprenticeships and internships.
Corporate culture plays the key role in whether those workers will stay with a manufacturer after the apprenticeship, Cort said during a panel discussion on apprenticeships on Sept. 9 during the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference in Milwaukee.
Cort said companies need a strategy looking 30-40 years into the future.
"Apprenticeship programs are very much about purpose. It's about building a legacy, it's about building sustainability," Cort said. "It's about why are you here as a company. What are you really trying to do, long term?