BASF launching apprenticeship program in Wyandotte to address skills gap

John Dulmes

When it comes to the availability of manufacturing jobs in the United States, the news is both good and bad.

Looking at the positive side, projections indicate there will be no shortage of job opportunities in the years ahead. The problem is the labor force.

Job creation in the U.S. manufacturing industry is currently outpacing the availability of skilled workers, a trend expected to continue for years to come.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, there’s a projected labor shortage of 2.4 million skilled workers through 2028.

To help close this gap, BASF is launching an apprenticeship program at its Wyandotte facility.

Home to one of the company’s largest research & development centers and manufacturing sites in North America, BASF’s Wyandotte facility operates seven production units that create products that are used in everyday life, such as seat cushions, car parts, sports equipment, pharmaceuticals and home care products.

The program is part of the company’s North American Apprenticeship Development Program, the mission of which is to develop a pipeline to meet future talent needs for a skilled and diverse technician workforce with an emphasis on attracting more females to these roles.

“BASF will always hire the best person for a role, and we believe there are many women who can fill the projected labor shortage, but may not have considered manufacturing as a career option,” said Johnathan Weatherly, BASF’s vice president of Operations, Performance Materials, and general manager of the Wyandotte site. “The apprenticeship program opens doors to local, talented people who are ready to launch and grow meaningful careers.”

BASF’s eight-month apprenticeship program in Michigan pays apprentices a full-time wage to participate in on-the-job training while earning a basic certificate in Process Technology from Henry Ford College.

In addition to paying a competitive wage, BASF offers benefits and covers the cost of tuition, books and fees associated with the certificate program. At the end of the program, apprentices have the skills and credentials needed to be placed in permanent positions.

“The ideal candidate for our apprenticeship program is one who has a passion to learn and grow, with the motivation, dedication and drive to succeed,” said Susan Emmerich, BASF’s NAADP project implementation manager. “No manufacturing experience is necessary to be considered for the program, but an innate curiosity to understand the way things work, desire to work collaboratively, and willingness to learn from experienced technicians are the foundation for success.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeship programs offer benefits, including: enhanced employee retention; a safer workplace; a stable and reliable pipeline of qualified workers; and a systematic approach to training, which ensures employees are ready and certified to produce at the highest skill levels required.

BASF’s apprenticeship program is currently accepting applications through March 18 for its May 2021 start date.

To learn more or to apply, visit