Lighting a Dream
North American Lighting is a partner of Rend Lake College for the Apprenticeship Illinois program. North American Lighting’s vision is to dramatically improve roadway safety by developing innovative lighting technologies that enhance driver vision and response time. They are a team that continuously works to bring vision to light. North American Lighting believes that people are their greatest asset and wants to continually improve as a company. One of the ways they have shown this is to invest in apprenticeships.
North American Lighting sees the value of on-the-job training combined with a specialized learning program designed to fit their needs as a business and prepare students for successful careers with their company. North American Lighting supports students by allowing them to earn a wage while they are learning on-the-job training and helps students with classroom costs, like tuition, so when students graduate with a degree or certificate from the apprenticeship program, they graduate debt free. When students complete the apprenticeship program, they have a job that they are familiar with and prepared for waiting for them, and their wage increases as they progress throughout the program, meeting more competencies and skills, and upon completion. Though apprenticeships are open to all types of students (high school graduates, veterans, career changers, unemployed, current employees looking to upskill within the company), this can be especially beneficial for non-traditional students. An example is an apprentice of North American Lighting with Rend Lake College, Chad Morris, who highlights some of the benefits for him: “That’s why I put off college for so long. I just wanted to make money, not spend money. Having a company that’s able to put their confidence and resources behind you, it gives you an extra boost of confidence.”
North American Lighting believes in investing in its students, because they believe that showing students they are willing to invest in them helps students want to invest their work into the company, creating a great partnering relationship. North American Lighting uses the apprenticeship program to grow their workforce, replacing retiring members of their staff, and training or retraining new or existing employees. As a result of the apprenticeship, they have seen more committed workers who are fully trained and plan to spend the length of their careers with that company. North American Lighting sees the merit in hands-on learning and wants to support workers with as much training as needed, and a program designed specifically to fit those instruction needs.
Chad Morris continues, “A lot of times when you’re in high school, and you’re thinking about college, you’re thinking more about inside of a textbook, you’re thinking about having to study all the time.” With an apprenticeship, classes are paired with on-the-job training, and students that are kinesthetic, or hands-on learners, really excel. Rend Lake College Instructor Chris Sink says of the apprenticeship program, “I like being able to hand-off a skill set that I know is valuable to the industry, something employers are actually looking for.” Apprenticeships also offer flexibility. Programs are designed around what the business and students need. Programs can be time-based, competency-based, or a hybrid program. Morris adds of North American Lighting, “They’re able to adapt to your life. It’s not adapting to what they want you to do. They help adapt to your schedule.”
North American Lighting has seen success within its Industrial Electronics program. But they don’t want to stop there! In addition to continuing the Industrial Electronics program, North American Lighting is now expanding their program to include apprenticeships in the field of Production Technology. The value of apprenticeships has really made North American Lighting an avid supporter of apprenticeships and is a business partner that plans to remain committed to apprenticeships for years to come.