These days, the myriad educational opportunities available to people looking for better career opportunities can be overwhelming. With the often expensive price tag attached to higher education through four year colleges and trade schools, personal development and career advancement can seem unrealistic or out of reach for a lot of people. Thankfully, alternative options ranging from tuition reimbursement work programs to short-term training programs have popped up to cater to those unable to make a hefty financial commitment to Sallie Mae.

Training Programs

Training programs are often shorter, more flexible learning opportunities put on by companies looking to better educate those already in manufacturing on their newer, higher tech products. Especially in the field of automation, robotics and computer science training programs help popularize branded technology, while expanding the knowledge of manufacturing workers in STEM sectors currently experiencing a potentially crippling skills gap. Short programs like these can allow workers to take less time off work, make less burdensome financial commitments, and see immediate promotions or pay increases on the job after obtaining their certifications. Employers needed expertise provided by certain training programs are often willing to provide some degree of tuition reimbursement for employees who participate. This options works well for individuals already in a career, seeking greater upward mobility or retraining opportunities. Training programs can do a lot of good for a lot of people, but what about people just coming out of high school, or a career change with little to no starting knowledge or place of employment in the manufacturing sector?


Apprenticeships are a fantastic solution for people looking to enter the skilled labor force without prior training. They also allow employers to make safer investments in their employees, who can be trained according to the needs of the business providing the apprenticeship. Unlike other educational options, apprenticeships allow for daily on-the-job experience, which many argue is more valuable than time spent in the classroom for some types of skilled labor. Apprenticeship programs vary according to the provider, but they often come with a stipend or wage allowing the apprentice to make ends meet while learning a new skill. For new high school graduates wanting to start work right away and avoid serious student loans, apprenticeships can be a great way to enter a new field of skilled labor with little to no prior experience, and work their way up into a great company willing to invest in them as an employee. Apprenticeships aren’t for everyone, and they certainly aren’t a uniform solution for all facets of the skills gap manufacturing is currently experiencing, but they are one creative way to build up the skilled labor workforce.

For more information on what kinds of training programs and apprenticeships are available at PD Peterka, visit our website and find out about more options local to you.