Carmeuse Mining and Mason County Career Magnet School Partner to Support Apprenticeship Programs for Students
Carmeuse Mining, a global manufacturer of lime and limestone products, is no stranger to the workforce shortage. The company has locations around the world, including Maysville, KY, and employs about 4500 people. Despite its international reach, local workforce challenges have impacted Carmeuse in the same way that it has impacted hundreds of construction companies across the state. Finding and training more workers became a top priority, and Sean Campbell was the man for the job.
Through his previous work experience with the state of Kentucky, Campbell had become familiar with the state’s TRACK program, Tech-Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky. TRACK is a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education and the Kentucky Office of Apprenticeship to provide secondary students with career pathway opportunities into Registered Apprenticeship programs.
Campbell, whose role at Carmeuse is Skilled Trades Coordinator, knew that TRACK would be a great resource for Carmeuse. With the help of TRACK and Mary Taylor, Industry Training and Development specialist with the Kentucky Department of Education, Campbell connected with Mason County Career Magnet School (MCCMS).
MCCMS is one of 53 career tech centers across Kentucky and serves 194 students in grades 9 – 12 that are seeking industry certifications in Health Science, Automotive Technology, Machine Tool, Welding and Electrical Technology. The match felt great to Campbell, who was looking to build an apprenticeship program for industrial electricians to join the Carmeuse team.
“An apprenticeship program with MCCMS was an opportunity to Carmeuse to build a pipeline to support our gaps in the workforce,” Campbell said. “TRACK led us to MCCMS, and they have been so easy and great to work with. They have worked with us through every potential obstacle to make sure we could get the program off the ground.”
Andrew Matheny, principal at MCCMS, was happy to support the relationship with Carmeuse to build the apprenticeship program with them.
“Whatever we can do to get our students out in the workforce and help them become successful and get jobs, that’s what we’re going to do,” Matheny said.
Matheny and the MCCMS team coordinated interviews between Carmeuse and MCCMS Electrical Technology students. They held an open house for parents to better understand how apprenticeships work, the specifics of the program with Carmeuse, and to answer any questions about how students would engage with the company on a daily basis.
“We held a Parent Open House for students and parents to come and learn about thep rogram and what was available to them,” Matheny said. “Ty Burkhart, our Industrial Maintenance instructor, was integral to the process. He got the students really excited about the opportunity.”
More than 90% of eligible students signed up to interview for the Carmeuse apprenticeship program, and Carmeuse eventually hired 10 apprentices from the class.
“Ten students is really tremendous,” Matheny said. “We have certainly had 1 or 2 students at a time become apprentices with other programs, and our most popular program had four apprenticeships, but we’ve experienced nothing like the numbers and interest that we saw with Carmeuse.”
Each school day for three hours, the apprentices travel to Carmeuse to train and learn the skills they need for a successful career as industrial electricians. The apprentices work under the guidance of two instructors, both of whom are former Carmeuse employees that the company contracted with to help execute the apprenticeship program.
“We started the program in September, and it’s been amazing,”Campbell said. “The school has been so supportive. They are happy to help us when needed, and they really are helping to build the next wave of electricians in our area.”
That sentiment is shared from MCCMS as well.
“The students that we’ve talked to are enjoying the program,” Matheny said. “We monitor attendance and make sure the students are doing what they need to do, but we’ve had no issues with this program. Carmeuse has been really good to the students and they are treating them very well.”
The students are currently about 7 weeks into the program. And both Carmeuse and MCCMS are thinking about the next steps.
“Eventually, we would love to replicate this program with other areas of our company outside of industrial electric,” Campbell said. “As long as there’s a need for more workers, we will continue to develop apprenticeship programs to meet those needs.” To learn more about TRACK and how to partner with them to develop an apprenticeship program for your company, view their resources on the Kentucky Department of Education website.
Photo from MCCMS Twitter