HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Rehau Inc., in Cullman and Wallace State recently entered the second year of their apprenticeship program agreement, and Rehau maintenance manager Michael Siewert continues to be impressed with the results.
“It has worked extremely well for us. The Wallace State students are exposed to all different areas of the plant and have a chance to work with all different types of equipment,” Siewert said. “We want these students to be as well-rounded as they can be once they complete the apprenticeship. It’s an exciting program and partnership.”
Wallace State newcomers to the apprenticeship program this fall are Tiffanie Perry, Forrest Sears and Shawn Fallin. Perry and Fallin are both from Cullman and Sears is from Baileyton. Students who started the program in 2013 and still employed at Rehau are Jeremy Bice, Brandon Kee and Michael Townson. Bice and Townson are from Hanceville and Kee is from Vinemont. They are all enrolled in the Automotive Manufacturing Technology program at Wallace State.
Perry, Sears and Fallin were selected for the 2014 apprenticeship among 17 applicants. Each student in the apprenticeship program spends two days a week in the class room at Wallace State, while also fulfilling at least 30 hours of work at Rehau. The students have their classes, books and supplies paid by Rehau during the apprenticeship.
During the apprenticeship, the students are assigned to different manufacturing areas, including injection molding, painting, fabrication and facilities, and rotate to a new department every six months.
“One student may start in molding maintenance for six months and then switch to building maintenance and then to painting. They’ll be exposed to different areas and different equipment at the plant,” Siewert said. “We want the students to see what best fits them.”
Each student in the apprenticeship program is also required to submit a weekly report to Siewert about their progress during the previous week.
“It’s a hand-written report and details all of their accomplishments throughout the week or what they have encountered. They may have replaced a pump on a molding machine or serviced an air conditioner in the building,” Siewert said.
Wallace State’s Dean of Applied Technologies Jimmy Hodges considers it a privilege for the college to have its students involved in the apprenticeship program.
“No. 1, it’s an honor to be in an apprenticeship agreement with such a reputable company as Rehau. No. 2, Rehau has been so good to work with. Michael Siewert gives us updates all the time regarding the progress of our students,” Hodges said. “This agreement is a life-changing opportunity for our students. They are able to work for a great company that has invested in them and their education. Rehau believes in the potential of each student chosen for the program.”
For the German-based company, an apprenticeship is much more extensive and competitive than an internship. An internship usually only lasts for a semester and there is no schooling outside of the plant. Interns are also only allowed to observe and work in one area.
“Our apprenticeships are the full-education package and something we take a lot of pride in offering,” Siewert said.
The Rehau apprenticeship for Wallace State students usually takes two to three years to complete.
“All of our apprenticeship students are hard workers. That is very, very encouraging. These students may have a full-time job awaiting them upon completion of the program,” Siewert said. “I feel the apprenticeship is a very good fit for us, Wallace State, Cullman, Cullman County and the surrounding areas. It’s set up to produce qualified personnel in highly-skilled areas.”
This apprenticeship partnership is one of the ways Wallace State is ensuring that students develop cultural awareness and global competencies necessary to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
For more information about Wallace State, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu
Communications & Marketing Director
Wallace State Community College
801 Main Street NW | Hanceville, AL 35077