Boosting the talent pipeline
As part of their commitment to education, ITW’s businesses work to develop the next generation of skilled workers in their local communities.
In our Food Equipment segment, businesses around the world are engaged in these efforts. Dr. Lei Schlitz, executive vice president of the Food Equipment segment, describes the programs as partnerships between ITW businesses and local universities and organizations.
“We are committed to tailoring our workforce programs to meet the needs of our communities as well as ITW and our customers,” said Dr. Schlitz. “This approach is consistent with our belief that creating job opportunities at all levels is essential for our communities to thrive.”
For example, HOBART Germany offers several apprenticeship programs that provide practical education for local university students, allowing them to use the skills gained in school in a professional field. Students rotate between working at the company for three months, typically in engineering or business administration, and taking classes at the university for three months. This structure helps students pay for their education as they go. Students have the opportunity to investigate problems, streamline processes and tackle analytical tasks. HOBART’s facilities also have more than 45 apprentices who rotate through five or six jobs in different areas of the company.
“We are thrilled to be giving back to the community in a way that helps students gain real-world experience in the industry so early on,” said Silvio Koch, vice president and general manager of Service, Europe for HOBART Germany. “They also develop skills that they will utilize throughout their career.” With the aid of these apprenticeship programs, HOBART is also able to recruit its own management trainees, and many of the programs’ alumni are members of the HOBART management team.
The business’s recruiting initiatives have a strong link to diversity and inclusion, including the development and promotion of female team members for positions traditionally held by men. For example, Carolin Köster started her career as an apprentice at HOBART while studying business administration. Carolin demonstrated her potential from the beginning and was given the opportunity to attend ITW’s Early in Career development program as well as HOBART’s “TALENT FOR THE FUTURE” program. Completing these trainings helped her develop the necessary skills for her current role as business unit manager for HOBART’s international spare parts business.
In addition, Koch and his colleagues recently began a new program aimed at developing equipment service technicians in communities across Germany. The profession is highly valued and pays well, but is often overlooked as a career opportunity. HOBART is working in partnership with local vocational schools and universities to identify candidates and launch its training program to fill this critical worker shortage.