The Council of Industry was first introduced to Long Island-based Estee Lauder in 2018, at which time the company was interested in launching an apprentice program to build a pipeline of skilled workers for long-term positions.
Back then, there was not an active Department of Labor sponsor on the Island, so the Council of Industry worked alongside Estee Lauder to create a program. The company enrolled a cohort of technical operators into the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) apprentice trade, a 16-month program. Apprentices received over 2,700 hours of on-the-job training, and needed 216 hours of related instruction to earn the NYS Department of Labor credential. As essential employees, the IMT apprentices paused their related instruction training but continued to learn on-the-job. To help apprentices make up their related instruction hours, the Council introduced Estee Lauder to SUNY Ulster's Barbara Reer. Apprentices on all shifts were able participate in asynchronous courses offered by SUNY Ulster, which allowed them to earn the required hours and graduate. Several of the graduates have already been promoted internally.
"Companies struggled to continue the apprentice program during the pandemic," says Johnnieanne Hansen, VP of Operations and Workforce Development, who worked closely with Estee Lauder on the program. "Understandably, it was difficult to invest in a long-term training program while managing the uncertainty and added pressures. It was impressive that these individuals and Estee Lauder recognized the value of this opportunity, and although delayed, never gave up on helping their employees earn this credential."
Since graduation, Estee Lauder has opened five more apprentice positions and will begin the next cohort in October, collaborating with the Council, Tooling-U and SUNY Ulster.