Anderson Varela advanced through apprenticeship program at AccuRounds
Anderson Varela, 19
CNC machinist at AccuRounds, Avon
Pay: $16 per hour
Lives: New Bedford
Loves to laugh: Enjoys comedy, particularly Aziz Ansari, Larry the Cable Guy, Dave Chappelle, and Eddie Griffin
Massachusetts workers skip the traditional get-educated-before-you-get-a-job path through manufacturing programs
Anderson Varela started work at AccuRounds in Avon this past April, running a CNC machine. Just a few months later, he got the chance to be part of a new apprenticeship program at the company, combining online and classroom work with on-the-job training. The opportunity answered a question he’d had before he started his career in the manufacturing industry.
“I was really confused in school how I would be able to better my knowledge in the field and basically move up,” Varela said. “When I started here and they mentioned the apprenticeship, it really opened my eyes.”
AccuRounds is just one of the manufacturing companies around the state piloting apprenticeship programs under a Massachusetts strategic plan. The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) is one of several organizations helping companies get involved with the program and connecting them with educational resources. Unlike a more familiar model where people finish their education and then enter a job, Leslie Parady, workforce development manager at MassMEP, said apprenticeships combine about 150 hours of technical instruction with 2,000 hours of on-the-job training – essentially a year of full-time work.
“You do them in parallel, and you’re sort of on two sides of a ladder, moving up each side at the same time,” she said. “The advantage for the person is that they’re going to have somebody else paying for their education. The advantage for the company is now they’re developing the workforce they need.”
When I started here and they mentioned the apprenticeship, it really opened my eyes.”
— Anderson Varela