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Maintenance Apprenticeship Program Has Success in Rural Kansas

With the help of: Kansas Manufacturing Solutions


Johns Manville manufactures premium-quality insulation, commercial roofing and fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial, and residential applications. In business since 1858, the company has annual sales over $3 billion and holds leadership positions in every key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs 8,000 people and operates 46 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. The Kansas manufacturing facility is located in McPherson, Kansas. 

The Challenge

The Johns Manville manufacturing facility is located in a rural location in Kansas. There is a shortage of skilled workforce in the community, as well a sizeable number of manufacturers competing for the same limited talent pool. Johns Manville was experiencing a challenge filling open positions it required to effectively manufacture their products.
KMS partner, Hutchinson Community College, has worked as a partner with Johns Manville to focus on our workforce challenges.  The apprenticeship program has proven successful and we are able to acquire, develop, and retain skilled electrical maintenance employees who are critical to our success.
— Bob Obermite, Maintenance Manager

MEP's Role

Kansas Manufacturing Solutions (KMS), part of the MEP National Network™, and its sub-recipient partner, Hutchinson Community College, worked to develop a maintenance apprenticeship program to fill the open positions at Johns Manville. The program consists of an apprentice working at the manufacturing plant for three days of the week.  The remaining two days of the week are spent in classes tailored for the necessary education required for their positions. At the end of the program, the apprentice will have received 25 college credit hours of learning. This apprenticeship program focused on electrical maintenance. This program has been so successful that there is an additional maintenance apprenticeship program being developed that focuses on mechanical maintenance. 

Created August 4, 2022