PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) – North American Lighting in Paris, Illinois is looking for five high school graduates to participate in the ICATT sponsored NAL Technical Apprenticeship program.
Company officials say the program will help students to kick-start their career without college debt.
One high school graduate who's currently in the program is Hudson Garrison. Garrison describes himself as an outdoor lover and a "tinker-er".
Garrison recalls, "I grew up in a machine shop. My mom and my step father actually own one. So I’ve worked there since I was about 14. Then I got the offer to come check out the ICATT thing and I enjoy that very much."
Garrison hails from southern Illinois. After high school, he applied and got into the North American Lighting ICATT Technical Apprenticeship Program.
Garrison shares, "I’ve learned about like all the different parts of the factory of your molding, your coatings, assembly and all that. I've learned how to run all the machines, how to work on them, I’ve learned how all the assembly lines work."
With the program, Garrison works part-time at NAL and gains hands-on experience. He also gets college credit at no cost to him. After 5 years in the program he'll come out debt-free with his Associates Degree.
North American Lighting Corporate Trainer, Robert Woolum, says, "I think it's a great opportunity. There's a huge skills gap today. The individuals that went into manufacturing 30 years ago are getting ready to retire. So we need to make sure we have somebody in place to fill those positions going forward."
By later this year there will actually be 9 people total taking part in this apprenticeship. That is between the three NAL locations offering the program. If you take it from Hudson, he says it takes a lot of responsibility. So before you apply, make sure you're geared up for it!
Garrison says, "Going to school and working part time you have a lot to juggle you know? You have a lot of responsibility to keep up all your school work and keep a "B" average, it's pretty hard."
But in the end, Garrison says it’s definitely worth the payoff for his future.
The Paris NAL location will be partnering with Ivy Tech Community College for course work and credits. Officials say there is no location requirement for incoming students. This means, as long as they're willing to commute, they could reside in Marshall, Terre Haute, or beyond.
Officials say the program comes with no out of pocket cost to students that successfully complete the program. The apprenticeship is a 5-year program beginning in August 2018.
For more information, you can email Robert_Woolum@nal.com.
You can also apply by clicking here.