May 4

Manhattan Mechanical Workforce Development: Encouraging skilled trades one apprentice at a time

BY: Ralph Yelder, Support Services Manager

“Workforce development” is an essential component of community economic development and certainly even more critical to reduce the impact the pandemic has had on communities. 

At Manhattan Mechanical Services, we take a “people-first” approach to business development by attracting, training, and retaining a certified workforce. We provide individuals with the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood while also helping Manhattan Mechanical achieve organizational goals.

Our company offers an apprentice, starting as a laborer, the chance to get out to the job sites and see firsthand what pipefitters, mechanics, and welders do in the field. Manhattan Mechanical uses a Training Matrix to track training and skill levels within our organization.

With firsthand experience, apprentices can decide which pathway they want to follow, whether to train to be a pipefitter, boilermaker, millwright, etc. While we encourage employees to get certified in specific crafts, Manhattan Mechanical’s craftsmen are multi-skilled.

We have in-house craft training centers at both our Manhattan, IL, and East Chicago, IN, locations. We offer a four-year apprenticeship program tailored to the light- and heavy-industrial markets that delivers regulatory, safety and skills training. Our training facilities come equipped with welding booths, heat exchangers, and other equipment, replicating what apprentices will encounter in the field.

We offer verifications for the following crafts: 

  • Industrial Boilermaker
  • Industrial Carpentry
  • Industrial Insulation
  • Industrial Ironworker
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Industrial Millwright
  • Industrial Pipefitter
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Rigging
  • Scaffold Builder

Workforce development and recruiting initiatives

We have worked closely with Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and Project H.O.O.D. to create career opportunities for young people living in the underserved neighborhoods of Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Manhattan Mechanical supports ABC’s Community Builders Program and other workforce-development initiatives that empower individuals facing serious barriers. Our company hires at least two individuals from each Community Builders Program cohort every four to six months. This program has trained more than 180 students from 10 underserved communities in Illinois. 

We also participate in Joliet Junior College’s Manufacturer’s Day, as well as career fairs at Purdue University. In addition, Manhattan Mechanical supports Kankakee Community Center’s welding program.

Encouraging skilled trades

Manhattan Mechanical’s training department plays a significant role in encouraging skilled trades. During the above mentioned recruiting initiatives, company staff shares the benefits of taking on a skilled trade such as: 

  • The ability to earn more than other post-college positions
  • The opportunity to move up the ladder and build a career
  • And, most importantly, the ability to provide for your family

At Manhattan Mechanical,through effective communication and education, we make it a priority to encourage young people to join the trades. We offer opportunities for advancement, which are tied to NCCER certifications. Manhattan Mechanical is a learning organization, and employees are directly involved in the continuous improvement of organizational processes and procedures, as well as employee-recognition programs and incentives.

Manhattan Mechanical Services provides paid vacation, outstanding medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) coverage. We also offer supplemental life insurance, short-term and long-term disability policies for employees to purchase, along with Aflac and pet insurance policies.

Manhattan Mechanical also has a 401k program with company matching available to employees, along with employee profit-sharing. 

The welfare of our employees is a top priority at Manhattan Mechanical. We offer fair compensation based on merit and the quality of the work performed. We make safety and workforce development top priorities, while rewarding personal initiative and skill.