TOWNSHIP OF HATFIELD – When Bill Carling, owner of Tri-Kris Co. Inc. in Hatfield, envisioned a succession plan, he naturally thought of his son, Billy. While Bill Carling was far from retiring – having taken over the precision machining business in 2006 – he knew how to preserve the company’s heritage of providing quality components to serve local and national industries to the preparation required. Having followed in his father’s footsteps as owner of Tri-Kris, Carling has also invested in making his son the third generation of Carling in the business.
Pennsburg resident Billy Carling Jr. had the same vision and, like his father, realized it wasn’t as easy as taking over when the time came. Billy Carling needed to follow a path through each step, allowing him to build and then refine his skills as a craftsman before he could then fully immerse himself in the business and evolve into roles of manager, supervisor and, a day, owner.
Bill Carling sought a resource to provide the solid foundation that would enable his son to move from “work” at the company to launching his career path. He turned to JEVS Human Services – one of the region’s largest social service organizations offering job training and career enhancement opportunities – drawn to the Tri-State Apprenticeship Program (JTAP) of the non-profit organization. JEVS ‘mission in the program is to fuel local economies by empowering businesses with a solid pool of workers trained to excel in the modern environment.
Bill Carling and JEVS developed a turnkey learning program that was personalized for the company and for Billy Carling – providing him with a roadmap to step into a supervisory role in a matter of years. Today Billy Carling, Production Supervisor / Machinist at Tri-Kris, assumes supervisory responsibilities, including mentoring Antonio Hatcher, Machinist at Tri-Kris and apprentice.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people still think of apprenticeship as the age-old concept of ‘preparing a person for a certain type of skilled job’, like printing or metalwork,” said Stephanie Cocchi, program manager and consultant. chief of apprentices for JTAP. “But learning as a whole is becoming an integral and critical part of our society. This JEVS program exists to take advantage of market dynamics to create a win-win situation.
Edison Freire, director of Gateway Initiatives at JEVS, believes this program will continue to grow and prosper.
“JEVS helps meet business and industry demand for skilled and emerging trade professionals who can ultimately help grow the business. We train people and open doors for them to find jobs and start fulfilling careers with tremendous growth potential, ”said Freire. “Finally, by bringing these two groups together, we are contributing to a thriving business community and economy. “
Through the JTAP initiative, JEVS forms partnerships with the business community and the pool of skilled tradespeople who can meet their needs. The program places equal emphasis and importance on bringing in new workers for hire and supporting a company to advance career-conscious people from within.
“Finding skilled talent is a huge problem, and we need to dispel the myths about manufacturing,” Bill Carling said. “The apprenticeship programs had faded over time, so it’s great to see JEVS filling the void. It’s amazing how much Billy and Antonio have picked up in two years, plus they’re more engaged in their jobs, want more responsibility – there’s a huge difference.
Nationally, apprenticeships peaked in 2019, reaching nearly 633,500 active apprentices and 252,270 new apprentices. However, in 2020 the number of new apprentices dropped by over 30,000. Realizing that overcoming the constraints of the pandemic was essential, JEVS adapted JTAP to include online courses for technical education, enabling apprentices to continue their work from anywhere at their own pace.
Now in its fifth year, JTAP is fueled by partnerships with the National Tooling and Machine Association and Tooling U-SME, enabling JEVS to support businesses and provide not only ‘workers’ but people with high career potential. as new recruits and internally. To date, over a dozen companies have participated, realizing benefits including increased employee retention, job performance and productivity. In addition, 13 apprentices completed the program. By creating a solid pool of employable workers, JTAP also offers companies the opportunity to employ a more diverse workforce.
JEVS leverages the benefits of leveraging old apprentices to become mentors for new entrants. As Billy Carling and Hatcher discovered, there is value in mentoring from a peer who has started and successfully completed a similar journey and who shares their aspirations with the apprentice.
“I absolutely recommend the program. There is so much knowledge to be learned, including getting better at the craft you are pursuing, ”said Billy Carling, who completed the program in December 2019.“ I also learned how to teach others and what to do with it. ‘you have to look for as a manager, what i have now can help Antonio to be successful and to be the best he can be.
“Tri-Kris isn’t just a job, it’s part of my life and part of where I want to be,” said Hatcher, who has been in the business for several years but wanted to take on a bigger role. “Seeing how Billy handles situations and resolves issues inspired me. The JEVS program was the step in securing my future. I am learning so much and growing every day. I become a better person inside and outside of work.
Tri-Kris intends to keep the cycle going.
“Learning is a very good thing. While other countries use them extensively, interest in America has waned over time and it is good that we are returning to it. Our apprentices don’t just point their clocks and go home. You can see the difference as they are exposed to new ideas, earn more money every step of the way and this is an opportunity that I present to all of my employees, ”said Bill Carling.
– Submitted by Justin Windheim