Rural Vermont is not where anyone expects to find one of the world’s most advanced injection-molding companies. Nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains, Nolato GW is investing in the future of local students and its own associates with a career development program like no other.
With the workforce challenges inherent in a rural location such as Vermont, Nolato GW decided to make a conscientious effort toward increasing local awareness about manufacturing careers and creating a sustainable pipeline of technical associates. Nolato GW has now built a holistic workforce development program starting with high school students and continuing up through tenured employ.
In 2015, Nolato GW launched the School of Tech, a curriculum exposing high school students to advanced manufacturing through a semester-long, for-credit course. Students are bused to Nolato GW’s state-of-the-art facilities and instructed by their tooling, automation, and molding professionals.
A highlight of each School of Tech semester includes a visit to nearby Gifford Medical Center, where the students see Nolato GW’s healthcare products used in real life, and learn about the ramifications of a device not being manufactured to the highest quality.
“Our students get the kind of real-world experience you just can’t find in the classroom. Most of these students have never been in a manufacturing environment before, and it is a real eye-opener for them,” says Cathy Tempesta, Nolato GW VP of Human Resources. “They are suddenly exposed to a possible career path that they never imagined. I have seen students leave here with a whole new perspective on what they want to do with their lives. It is a great program and a win-win for everyone involved.”
For those who choose to start their careers right after high school, and in some cases right after School of Tech graduation, Nolato GW offers a paid 18-month apprenticeship program in molding, mold-building, and automation.
For those pursuing higher education after high school, Nolato GW offers a combination scholarship/internship opportunity in partnership with Vermont Technical College.
Nolato GW awards generous scholarships each year to students pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Over the summer, scholarship winners participate in a rigorous 12-week internship that exposes them to all engineering disciplines in the organization.
Nolato GW recognizes the importance of creating highly skilled engineers both for the future of the manufacturing industry and for the careers of local students. Because of this, the internship program was built to provide students with employable skills that will prepare them for their goals after graduation.
With the help of the Nolato GW scholarship/paid internship program, it is possible for a student to completely cover the tuition cost of their degree. For students who may not have thought higher education and a rewarding career path were financially attainable, this can be life-changing.
Once an associate is hired at Nolato GW, there are numerous opportunities to continue their technical education such as the Manufacturing Technology Leadership Program (MTLP). After completing the MTLP, participants can utilize Nolato GW’s employee tuition reimbursement program to finish their degree at no cost. Through the MTLP program, Nolato GW has now funded nine engineering degrees over the past eight years.
“Investing in our associates helps our company stay ahead of the curve. It increases their skills, brings new ideas and innovations, and boosts our productivity,” says Brenan Riehl, Nolato GW President and CEO. “We are committed to the development of our associates and local students, many of whom will be tomorrow’s leaders of our organization.”