Harper apprentices thriving in "learn-and-earn" programs

Andrew SplettAndrew Splett never imagined that at just 19 years old, he’d not only have a career path mapped out, he’d already have a huge head start on his journey.

The Wheeling teen is nearly halfway done with a three-year industrial maintenance mechanical apprenticeship program through Harper College. As an apprentice, Splett is both a Harper student and an employee of Herrmann Ultrasonics, a Bartlett-based machine and system supplier for industrial ultrasonic technology with 350 employees worldwide.

Herrmann Ultrasonics and numerous other companies that have partnered with Harper’s apprenticeship program cover the cost of tuition, fees and books – and they pay their apprentices a salary.

“My friends are completely astonished that I’m already working in the field I want to work in,” Splett said. “My mom told my little brothers that I’ve set the bar pretty high.”

Harper is celebrating Splett and all its apprentices during the second annual National Apprenticeship WCharles Cassidyeek, which takes place Nov. 14-20.

One of the premier community colleges for registered apprenticeships, Harper offers industrial maintenance mechanic, CNC precision machining and general insurance.

And in January, the College will launch its first logistics/supply chain management apprentice cohort. Professionals in the field plan, direct or coordinate purchasing, warehousing, distribution, forecasting, customer service and planning services.

Splett, who knew he wanted to pursue engineering, is learning the ropes at Herrmann Ultrasonics. The company is exposing him to everything from marketing and customer interaction to the tool shop and machine repair.

“They want me to learn the company from the ground up, and I feel like I’m really blossoming there,” he said. “It’s been a phenomenal experience.”

According to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, “Apprenticeships are experiencing a modern renaissance in America because the earn-while-learn model is a win-win proposition for workers looking to punch their ticket to the middle-class and for employers looking to grow and thrive in our modern global economy.”

Recognizing the innovative work Harper College is doing with apprenticeships, the U.S. Department of Labor last year awarded the College a $2.5 million gInsurance cohortrant to support the initiative. Harper and the other grant recipients have pledged to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices over the next five years.

Interested in learning more? Harper will hold an information session from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6th, at the Wojcik Conference Center, Room W218, on the College’s main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

Visit HarperApprenticeships.org or call 847.925.6630.

Last Updated: 11/3/21