BASF Tackles Skilled Worker Shortage with Apprenticeship Program

July 19, 2023
Production operator is the first to complete the company’s apprenticeship program at Sparta, Tennessee site.

To combat the skilled workforce shortage, BASF launched its North American Apprenticeship Development Program in August 2022 at its Sparta, Tennessee site in partnership with nearby Motlow State Community College. The 18-month on-the-job training and education program has now generated its first graduate, Helen Austin Hayes.

According to BASF, the program aims to meet future talent needs for a skilled and diverse technician workforce while attracting more females and other under-represented groups to industry roles. The program pays apprentices a full-time wage for time spent on the job and in the classroom. Upon completion of the program, Hayes was offered and accepted a full-time production operator role at BASF’s Sparta site.

The need for skilled workers is an ongoing industry challenge, and it's hard to find qualified people, reported Martha Moore, chief economist and managing director for economics and statistics at the American Chemistry Council in her recent State of the Chemical Industry webinar for Chemical Processing

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeship programs bring about many benefits, including enhanced employee retention, a safer workplace, a stable and reliable pipeline of qualified workers and a systematic approach to training, which ensures that employees are prepared and certified to produce at the highest skill levels required.

There are currently three apprentices expected to join the Sparta site in maintenance and production roles upon completion of the program, said BASF in a press release.