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DEARBORN, Mich., May 22, 2018 – Ford today unveiled the newly transformed UAW-Ford Technical Training Center (TTC), designed to provide state-of-the-art technology training to hourly employees from Ford manufacturing plants.
Ford invested $35 million in the TTC, completely renovating the facility, which is an important move in its efforts to leverage advanced manufacturing and improve operational fitness. The TTC, located in Lincoln Park, Mich., is at the heart of training for UAW-Ford skilled trades apprentices, jobs that are critical in assisting Ford’s already highly efficient plants perform even better.
“We are embracing advanced technologies in all of our manufacturing plants, helping us to become more efficient and produce even higher-quality vehicles for our customers,” said Gary Johnson, Ford chief officer, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “The UAW-Ford Technical Training Center allows our people to support technologies and equipment critical to keeping our plants running and provides opportunities for hourly employees to use their intelligence, skills and experience to recommend additional improvements.”
The UAW and Ford replaced the infrastructure, manufacturing technology and equipment inside the existing building. To ensure the technology and training supports Ford’s advanced manufacturing vision, responsibility for the TTC falls under the leadership of Ford’s Advanced Manufacturing team. The Advanced Manufacturing team helped identify manufacturing technologies used every day in Ford plants and important for skilled trades training, including 3D printers, collaborative robots, vision systems, drones and much more.
“This investment continues the job growth outlined during 2015 bargaining,” said Rory Gamble, UAW-Ford Vice President. “It is important that we are constantly training our UAW members, not only to operate the new machinery on the line but to keep it up and running. This will help with job security for our members both now and in the future.”
The skilled trades joint apprenticeship program, which is housed at the TTC, dates back to 1941. Since that time, nearly 30,000 journeypersons have graduated from the program. The UAW-Ford Joint Apprenticeship Program takes between three and four years to complete.
After passing several required courses for entry, acceptance to the Joint Apprenticeship Program is based on employee interest, a measure of employee performance history and their seniority. Once an apprentice is accepted, they must complete a minimum of 576 classroom hours, a minimum of 8,000 shop hours, plus several assessment exams. Employees are paid for their time in the classroom as well as in the plant.
“Before entering this program, I worked as an assembler at Cleveland Engine Plant. This apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to work as a millwright after graduation,” said Ventura Robinson, apprentice at the TTC. “My mom and I work together at the plant, and I knew that the opportunity was so good that I told my mom about it. Now she’s training to become a skilled tradesperson and is as excited as I am about the future.”
Robinson and her mother Michelle Fountaine began their apprenticeship work last fall. They hope to complete the program together in approximately four years.