Bridging the Skills Gap

APT Manufacturing Solutions offers a unique training program to help students find their talents and skills.
Deborah C. Gerbers

As one of the largest diversified robot automation and machining manufacturing companies in the area, APT Manufacturing Solutions is changing the industry for the better. APT is a 140 employee company divided into Fanuc robot automation, machining, fabrication, fixtures/gages and education. Four years ago, the Hicksville, Ohio, company implemented a high school training program to teach students interested in manufacturing how to hone their skills and how to excel in the area best suited for them.

APT is a local company dedicated to solving the industrial workforce problem faced in our country as well as our region. The company strives to train young people and develop the products that help them train more easily. APT’s education products were engineered for advanced manufacturing, with the goal of developing the next generation of industrial workers in high-tech automation.

President Anthony Nighswander says his company decided to begin the training program because of both the industry’s skills gap as well as businesses battling for employees. “Colleges are admitting students to four-year programs, students we believe can better benefit by working in our HS training program and then hiring into our apprenticeships,” he says. “Our industries work with technical and trade schools because of the skills gap that exists.”

APT interviews juniors and seniors from Fairview and Hicksville high schools to determine if they are a good fit for the training program. “We take on between eight and ten students for each one-year long program,” Nighswander says. “The first half of the year we teach mechanics and tools of the trade, including welding, machining, assembly and robotic automation. We also teach something called ‘conceptual engineering’ to help these students really visualize concepts in their minds. For example, if we need to pack out 500 candy canes we need to think about how those candy canes come in, how they go out, all the logistics involved.”

The second half of the year, students of the APT training program learn basic electrical, pneumatics, PLC programming and robot programming. There are also potential opportunities for students of the program to eventually be hired by APT and further their education through our apprenticeship program. “After the class is over, our goal is not necessarily to make them an expert in the trade but to help them find their gifts, what they’re good at and see if they would be a good fit for our apprenticeship program,” says Nighswander. 

APT Manufacturing Solutions

Address: 801 Industrial Drive P.O. Box 88 Hicksville, Ohio 43526

Phone: (419) 542-6681


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