In our KMI Apprenticeship Program, we are providing a continuing pathway for our older transitioning youth to enter college or the workforce. We tell all of our KMI youth that we are here with them forever, and we mean that – with them to help give them the tools to empower themselves to succeed in life.
In the Apprenticeship Program, we have created 9 part-time jobs, hiring on an as-needed basis some of our older, transitioning youth who have done all the right things – generally stayed out of trouble, stayed in school, and graduated from high school – but who have found it difficult to secure meaningful employment in this difficult economy. Our apprentices take on custom woodworking projects for the general public – punching a time clock, working to a standard, and learning good workplace skills.
This program is already proving successful; we have recently helped place three of our apprentices in full-time jobs in the community, and have also been contacted by a lumber company to recommend two others for full time jobs there.
In addition to our complete traditional cabinet shop machinery, we have three state of the art, computer-driven production tools, a Laser Engraver (with which we do name tags, signs, and custom plaques and awards for businesses and athletic races and events) a CNC Router, which we program to do consistent repetitive parts for multiples of projects, and a Hydraulic Copy Lathe, with which we can do repetitive custom turnings, such as flower vases, porch spindles, bowls, etc. These innovative machines help to equip our Apprentices in the advanced skills demanded in today’s marketplace, and revenue generated through these orders helps KMI to move toward sustainability.
In order to further position our Apprentices to move from Kids Making It into jobs in the private sector, we have implemented our KMI TeamBuilding initiative, through which we offer unique teambuilding opportunities to local businesses, industry and agencies in our woodworking shops. As we utilize our apprentices and staff to deliver this service, these sessions serve as an employment networking opportunity for our apprentices, as they work side by side with movers and shakers from the business world, bringing them into the KMI woodworking experience, and teaching them how to build their own woodworking project, make their own hardwood pen, or laser engrave their own personal sign or plaque.