Harley-Davidson is no stranger to changing times. The 115-year-old company has weathered World Wars, depressions, recessions, and now a rapidly changing landscape of both workers and prospective buyers. In the United States, we’re familiar with the fact that the trades are struggling to find new workers. Termed the “skills gap,” this manufacturing labor shortage spans across professions like electricians, plumbers, machinists and mechanics, and is even felt by company giants like Harley-Davidson. “Unless something changes drastically, this problem is not going away,” said Tori Termaat, Harley’s Director of Talent.
It was with these conditions in mind that the Harley-Davidson youth apprenticeship program was formed. Seventeen students from Bradley Tech High School will compete for six openings in Harley’s youth apprenticeship in tool-and-die making, machine repair/maintenance and electrical maintenance. Though space is limited, the opportunity will hopefully ignite a passion for the trades within all who participate. The program is in the beginning stages for Harley now as it launches at the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, plant this year. But if all goes according to plan, the corporation intends to expand the program into plants in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and York, Pennsylvania.
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