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LCCC, Amazon launch apprenticeship program

Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) and Amazon have established a training partnership to prepare apprentices in advanced manufacturing, one of four such Amazon programs nationwide.

It’s part of Amazon’s Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship program, said to provide a pathway to careers in industrial automation for Amazon’s next generation of distribution and fulfillment centers.

The program is a U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship.

“We are honored to provide this training in partnership with Amazon, which is a major employer in the area,” said LCCC president Dr. Ann D. Bieber.

“This type of program is truly the way of the future to be able to meet the needs of a changing and demanding workplace,“ Bieber said.

“Students will complete a comprehensive curriculum and are now ready to take their skills into the Amazon facilities.

“We look forward to welcoming future classes to our campus and further developing programs that impact employment readiness,” said Bieber.

Apprentices utilize Amatrol e-learning, lecture and equipment in the new 2,000-square-foot lab in the Technology Center on LCCC’s Schnecksville, North Whitehall Township, campus.

The second group of 76 apprentices was begun in early December 2020 at LCCC. The original class of 25 completed the program in September 2020, bringing to 101 the total trained to date. An additional class began Jan. 4, with additional classes planned throughout 2021.

Apprentices represent states from coast to coast in the United States. They complete the 12-week program with a variety of courses that will prepare them for a career in industrial automation.

After they have successfully passed four national exams, graduates return to their facilities for the on-the-job learning portion of the program.

Apprentices attend classes five days per week, combining online and instructor facilitated classroom work with hands-on skill assessment. The program articulates to credit programming at LCCC in the related fields, so if students want to continue their education, it is a seamless path to an associate degree.

According to an email from a spokesman for Amazon, LCCC is one of the early participants in the program.

Upon completion of the free 12-week course, mployees receive one year of on-the-job training, after which they’ll be eligible for full-time positions in mechatronics and robotics. Employees who go through the program can expect to see their wages increase nearly 40 percent, according to Amazon.

The program is part of Amazon’s larger Upskilling 2025 initiative, a $700-million commitment to provide free skills training to 100,000 Amazon employees in the United States by 2025 to help them transition into in-demand, higher-paying jobs.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Student at Lehigh Carbon Community College