North Berwick’s YCCC Partnership is a Sound Employee Investment
The recent ribbon-cutting and grand opening of an 18,000-square-foot Pratt & Whitney Building at York County Community College (YCCC) in Wells, Maine, points to the company’s longstanding partnership with the college and the apprenticeship programs it supports in conjunction with North Berwick Aero Systems.
The partnership’s signature offering is the four-year Manufacturing Technologist Machinist Apprenticeship program, certified through the State of Maine, which provides additional training beyond what is required by the state apprenticeship program and offers graduates with not only an apprentice certificate, but also an associate’s degree in trade and technical occupations. The first cohort of 14 apprentices graduated in March, with a second group beginning the program in January.
“The program provides employees the opportunity to participate in an intensive, accelerated, rotational experience exposing them to a broad range of business units, functional areas and subject matter, preparing them for placement into any business unit or functional area across the shop,” said Russell Chaput, manager, Human Resources, North Berwick Aero Systems.
“The program combines technical, interpersonal, academic and leadership learning opportunities to ensure we’re developing well-rounded, highly versatile, and leadership-capable employees,” he said. “In the spirit of continuous improvement, we strongly believe that an employee’s desire to better themselves through education, experience and challenge is beneficial to the entire company.”
Eric Matheson, a quality engineer who graduated from the apprenticeship program earlier this year, said the program broadened his knowledge of North Berwick’s operations, furthered his professional education and expanded his network of company employees. “I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today without going through the program,” he added. “It allowed me to meet so many people who will be able to assist me in both the business and my career.” Matheson said that as a result of his experience, he is pursuing his MBA through the UTC Employee Scholar Program.
Current apprentice Kim LaRose joined the company less than a year before she joined the current cohort. “I was attracted to the program because of what I saw as a marriage between the academic and operations portions,” she said. “I saw it as an incredible opportunity to further my new career. Given the size of our operation in North Berwick, the program offers me a chance to learn much more about our various operations and the people who work here. There’s so much to learn, and I’m certain it will help me in whatever position I pursue down the road.”