OMAHA, NEB. — Smithfield Foods Inc. announced on March 16 plans to expand its company apprenticeship program to include Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.
The company said the program gives students hands-on electrical and mechanical training while earning an associate degree. Smithfield wants to provide this service to military veterans, high school graduates and internal candidates.
Apprentices will train alongside experienced company technicians at its Iowa and Nebraska facilities. Each participant receives free tuition, salary and benefits as they move through the program. A similar initiative was introduced by the company in September 2019 in North Carolina.
“We look forward to expanding our apprenticeship program to college campuses across the United States,” said Schwanzetta Williams, director of talent acquisition with Smithfield. “According to a report by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, there are more than 2.4 million unfilled jobs in manufacturing. It’s critical to prepare the next generation of professionals with a wide range of necessary skills to ensure a successful career – and we’re excited for our apprentices to build their careers at Smithfield.”
Metropolitan Community College officials said the program provides a new learning path for students in a career field that is in high demand.
“This program combines both hands-on training and classroom experience, providing a valuable opportunity for individuals to develop a deep understanding of the electrical and mechanical fields,” said Scott Broady, associate dean, industrial technology center for Metropolitan Community College. “We value our partnership with Smithfield Foods and appreciate their efforts in helping prepare highly skilled workers.”