Beating the Drum for Apprenticeships

PeterPeter Feil sees apprenticeships not just as a way to fill skilled jobs in rural communities—he sees them as a savior for small towns.

With Millennials more likely to relocate to urban areas than their generational predecessors, “anything we can do to provide opportunities and convince kids to stay is going to be critical for maintaining any kind of industry,” says Feil, who heads U.S. operations for German gearbox and motor maker Stober Drives. “The more kids we can retain, the more businesses will thrive. Every kid we lose is a lifetime worker that’s not going to be in our town.”

Stober USA, which has around 120 employees, is located in Maysville, Ky., a town of 9,000 about an hour’s drive from both Cincinnati and Lexington, Ky. The company has hosted 32 apprentices since it launched the program 10 years ago, including 16 current apprentices.

“We feel a responsibility as a leader in the community to do everything we can to promote these programs and to market them and to lead by example and get others to follow,” says Feil “We feel it’s an ethical and moral obligation, because we don’t want to see our community die.”

Feil, who along with leading Stober’s apprenticeship program also recently got a local chapter of KY FAME off the ground after many years of trying, shared what he’s learned about apprenticeship success.

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