HHS Students Grateful for Local Apprenticeship Programs
31 Aug 2022
As Ryan Bowman approached his high school graduation in May 2022, he started seriously thinking about his future.
He heard about a mechanic apprenticeship program at BD, and it sounded like a great option.
“It sounded good,” Bowman said. “Free college, health and dental insurance, on top of getting paid to go to college. I like to work with my hands so being an industrial mechanic – that’s right where I wanted to be.”
Ryan applied for the program and was accepted. A few weeks after graduating from Holdrege High School, he started work at BD in Holdrege. He worked from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. this summer learning the basics around the Holdrege plant and even worked on some machines.
This fall, he enrolled at Central Community College in Kearney to earn a certificate as a registered apprentice. BD pays for his college, pays for his time traveling to Kearney and his time in class. He also continues to work at BD when it fits into his schedule around classes.
Bowman said this opportunity in his hometown opens a lot of doors for him.
“I have free schooling,” he said. “I am debt free. It’s really helped me getting right out of high school and learning how to work and getting my first real job as an adult.”
Bethanne Kuck, Site HR Manager at BD, said the apprenticeship program began at BD in 2019. BD spinoff company, embecta, also has the same apprenticeship program. Between the two plants, 10 students have participated, including one this year at BD and four at embecta. To date, no students have completed the program but one will complete it at embecta in December.
Preston Schultheiss also graduated from HHS in 2022 and was hired as an apprentice at embecta. Both of his parents work at the local plant.
“My experience so far has been fun,” he said. “It’s always good to learn new things and get out of your comfort zone.”
Schultheiss said this program opens up better opportunities for his future. His goal is to become a senior mechanic.
“This is a very good option for people who wish to go to college and leave debt-free while also learning about machines and how they operate,” Schultheiss said. “Thanks to this opportunity, I see myself living a healthy lifestyle and learning more about myself and my job. Without this program, I wouldn’t be able to live a happier more flexible lifestyle.”
Kuck said the Axios Workforce and Talent Development Program led by Alex Mahundi may have contributed to the higher interest in the apprenticeship program this year.
“AXIOS (Alex Mahundi) actively encouraged area high school students to apply for jobs at BD,” she said. “He gave them our available position information and encouraged them to explore career opportunities at BD.”
Kuck said the program pays for three years of college tuition at CCC in Kearney. The students continue to work at BD while attending classes in Kearney. The goal is for them to receive a certificate as a Registered Apprentice. They must agree to work for BD for a minimum of 2 years after graduation.
The apprentices will receive a Registered Apprenticeship Certificate through DOL. They would work as mechanics at BD when completed. If they choose to finish the diploma through tuition reimbursement, the diploma would be in mechatronics.
She said earnings will vary based on wage rates at the time of graduation.
Kuck said the next round of apprenticeship opportunities would be seniors graduating in 2023. When openings are posted, students would apply at jobs.bd.com or https://bdx.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/embectacareers. She encouraged students with mechanical aptitudes or an interest in a technical career to apply.