Investing in the FutureRJ Lipscomb Engineering
August 31st, I had the pleasure of participating in a roundtable with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and The US Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai. In anticipation of the passing of the infrastructure bill they wanted to hear specifically from women who own businesses in the manufacturing sector to hear how we anticipated the infrastructure bill would help our small businesses.
I spoke about how at RJ Lipscomb Engineering largest investment is in our people. We can accomplish anything with the right talent. We at RJ Lipscomb Engineering have been disappointed that many schools took classes like “shop” out of their curriculum. We feel the effects of this change anytime one of our employees retires and we look for new talent.
Today’s high school students may not realize that metal work is a career beyond welding. It is an intellectually challenging and exacting trade that many have been deprived of. This year RJ Lipscomb Engineering, with Elgin Community College and ICATT, began an apprentice program in our shop. We have brought on a bright and ambitious high school graduate who was looking for a career in the trades but hadn’t decided on which trade was right for him. He didn’t even know that jobs like ours existed before we reached out to him. He is flourishing and we are having a great time showing off our skills and teaching the next generation what we are all about.
For a company of our size to bring on a Department of Labor Certified Apprentice Program is a significant investment of funds and labor. We look at this as an investment in our community, our industry, our company, and the individuals we select to become our apprentices. We hope that in the future it will be possible for more small businesses to participate in this type of training.