Wallace State’s Center for Career and Workforce Development & Reliance Worldwide Corporation launch Tool Maker Registered Apprenticeship

Representatives from Reliance Worldwide Corporation and Wallace State’s Machine Tool Technology program recently met for the announcement of the Tool Maker Registered Apprenticeship. (Photo courtesy of WSCC)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College’s Center for Career and Workforce Development and the Machine Tool Technology Department have partnered with Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC) to launch a Tool Maker Registered Apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program provides apprentices with two years of paid experience at Reliance Worldwide Corporation’s facility in Cullman, while also completing their AAS degree at Wallace State with a focus in Tool & Die. The apprenticeship program is competency-based, giving participants the opportunity to earn more wages while completing tasks. Additional coursework in Electronics Technology is included, and apprentices can earn multiple industry recognized certifications.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals to be enrolled in school and work at the same time in their field. They are assigned mentors and receive on-the-job training in addition to a last-dollar scholarship, meaning all tuition, books and tools are paid for,” said Christina Holmes, Wallace State’s Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning coordinator. “We’re super pumped that businesses and industries continue to invest in Wallace State through apprenticeship opportunities.”

Reliance Worldwide Corporation, which serves more than 60 countries, has a 300,000-square-foot distribution facility in Cullman and develops safe, sustainable and efficient water control and plumbing solutions for domestic, commercial and industrial applications, including producing the SharkBite fittings locally.

Maintenance Manager Oneal Swann was among the RWC employees to attend the launch and is the lead mentor for the apprentices.

“It’s exciting to see students who are passionate about our trade walk through the doors. This is where it’s at. You learn this, get good at it and you can basically go anywhere you want. We want you to stay at RWC, but with 10 years of solid experience, you’ll be able to write your ticket to wherever,” Swann said. “If you’re dedicated, you can make a good living for yourself and family.”

Wallace State’s Dean of Applied Technologies Wes Rakestraw added, “Reliance Worldwide Corporation is a great, local company with a wonderful work environment. It’s a fantastic place to learn a skill and build a career. No matter the ultimate destination, one thing about a registered apprenticeship is the competency and skills earned follow you for life.”

Wallace State and RWC have previously formed a partnership through the North Central Alabama Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (F.A.M.E.) program which provides work-based learning opportunities for students as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician.

As a Tool Maker apprentice at RWC, duties include building new dies, modifying existing dies, in-press troubleshooting, executing die setup procedures, resolving die performance issues, performing correct die changeovers, establishing and maintaining a quick die changeover program, parts inspection and manufacturing prototype parts from engineering prints and improving prototype parts.

In addition to paid tuition, books and tools, benefits include a flexible schedule, 401K matching, paid holidays and paid vacation. Successful completion of the program leads to full-time employment at RWC.

“It’s a vital time for the Tool & Die workforce, and we want to help fulfill those industry needs. One of my favorite things about this apprenticeship is it’s a competency-based apprenticeship, rewarding the individual for completing certain skills. That’s the way it should be,” said Jonathan Minyard, Wallace State’s Machine Tool Technology program chair.

The RWC apprenticeship in Tool & Die is the second launched in the Wallace State program in less than a year, joining one announced by Y-Tec Keyflex Toyotetsu Alabama (YKTA) last August. Wallace State is accepting applications now for both apprenticeships; applications are open to Wallace State students, and anyone interested in beginning a career in the Tool & Die industry.

For more information about the apprenticeship or to apply, contact Christina Holmes at 256-352-8120 or at christina.holmes@wallacestate.edu.