to cover the back area, where the extra
rubber and materials are stored since
they are not affected by weather. The
40,000-square-foot canopy has already
greatly reduced the amount of unrelated work the employees did previously,
such as shoveling snow to move the
materials inside or drying them off from
rain and moisture.
The facility has also seen an increase
in automated technology, which
Hanson says has impacted output positively has impacted output positively
and helped to increase worker safety. helped to increase worker safety.
Though there is widespread concern
about automated technology replacing
human workers, Hanson says there
has been no effect on jobs at Apache.
In fact, in the announcement of the
expansion in December 2014, the
company said the project would preserve 30 jobs and create 15 new ones.
Those numbers are still on track, says
Along with the increased use of
automated technology and the concerns
that it presents, there is a ubiquitous
conversation in the industry about the
manufacturing skills gap and the fear
of being unable to recruit new workers
to replace the older, more experienced
Responding to the skills gap crisis,
the company created Apache University,
an internal program to focus on recruiting young individuals and training them
Miller explains that one of the biggest
challenges is attracting younger generations to the industry. But once Apache
is able to gain interest, they choose
to train internally since the necessary
skills are not often taught in school.
Apache hosts junior high and high
school students on tours to attract them
to the company. The company previously
hosted a former presidential candidate,
Sen. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania,
to tour the Cedar Rapids facility and discuss the importance of manufacturing to
Iowa’s economy in 2015.
Pientok, as well as numerous other
employees at Apache, is involved with
outside organizations that benefit both
the company and brand while also giving back to the industry, he says. He