Northeast State/RCAM to launch registered apprenticeship program


Kingsport’s Silgan Closures has partnered with Northeast State to launch a registered apprenticeship program that provides a paycheck and job training at the same time. Four Silgan employees will participate in the four-year program, receiving classroom instruction from the College’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) and on-the-job training from Silgan.  At the end of the program, the workers receive a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) certificate of completion.

RCAM is a registered apprenticeship sponsor, meaning it can put together a training package – per DOL guidelines – for companies of any size. This training is especially valuable for small- and mid-size companies that might not otherwise be able to offer or sustain an apprenticeship program. “We’re able to put DOL registered apprenticeship structure together for them and deliver it as a turn-key package,” said Jeff Frazier, RCAM dean. “We can offer it to any size company whether it has one apprenticeship or 20. This allows them to take advantage of the same level of training available to Fortune 500 companies.”

The Silgan employees will be enrolled in RCAM’s mechatronics technician program. Mechatronics technicians perform critical maintenance and repairs on complex systems that use robotics, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), hydraulics/pneumatics, and electrical/electronic circuits. Each of the Silgan apprentices was nominated to apply by the company. They completed RCAM’s application process, which requires a work history, the ACT WorkKeys exam, and an interview.

The agreement was formalized on May 11 during a ceremony attended by College, State of Tennessee, and Silgan executives at the RCAM facility in Kingsport.

Silgan Closures designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of closure products as well as equipment and engineering services for the dairy, juice, water, and other non-carbonated beverage markets. Headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., the company’s Kingsport facility is located at 408 Tilthammer Drive.

According to the DOL, the apprenticeship benefits are substantial – companies that use such programs can diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, receive tax credits, and more. From careers in healthcare, energy and IT, to manufacturing, transportation and more, Registered Apprenticeship has dramatically impacted the lives, careers, and opportunities for millions of workers, and more than 150,000 businesses over the last 75 years. The DOL Office of Apprenticeship has more than 1,100 occupations approved for apprenticeships at this time.

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