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Green Sand Metalcasting Foundry News

Apprentice Nation? The American Foundry Society Institute has the courses.

Posted by Hill and Griffith Company on Mar 20, 2018 2:58:42 PM


A goal of 5 million apprenticeships in the next five years is very lofty considering last year 505,000 people held apprenticeships.

A lofty goal was set in March of 2017 when Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, asked President Trump to up the ante and create 5 million apprenticeships in the next five years.

Trump took the bait and included it in his workforce agenda.

While the U.S. might be on the right path, there is a long way to go from the 505,000 people that held apprenticeships last year. (Only 35% of those apprenticeships were in manufacturing.)

But hope springs eternal in the U.S. psyche and so there are studies that predict if only we could reach the same share of its workforce as Australia, Canada and England, the number of apprenticeships would reach 4 million. This is the belief held by Robert I. Lerman, an institute fellow at Urban Institute.

American Foundry Society Institute Apprentise.jpg

While that sound good, let’s look at the cost of operating an apprenticeship program. Estimates vary from $25,000 to over $50,000 per year per apprenticeship. That’s awfully pricey, especially for small companies. While the argument has been made that the price is lower since other employees would be paid to do those job, there is the question of productivity.

Some companies have seen good returns on their program. A 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Case Western University found that Siemens and Darmouth-Hitchock saw a return of 40-50% on their programs.

Then there is the argument that if the state government gets involved for every $1 spend on apprenticeship programs the return is higher than that spent on community college.

Again, it must taken into account that often area businesses are providing the machinery and learning for these programs and so students go right into jobs. While more community colleges are offering these programs, it hasn’t reached a critical mass yet.

The federal government has been bolstering the job creation program. In 2016, $90 million in grants went to apprenticeship programs. And in 2015, that number was $175 million.

And the federal government has created a Registered Apprenticeship Program under the Department of Labor that is trying to create standards for these programs.  In the United States, there is no single set of apprenticeship standards that all employers and sponsors in the U.S. must follow when designing their programs.

One company that joined this program last year was Dow Chemical. It has used an apprenticeship program for over 40 years in Europe and has over 100 programs in the U.S. the company wanted to obtain the U.S. Department of Labor registration for its U.S. program.

The company is a big supporter of this method to fill its talent pipeline.

“Apprenticeships are a tried and true workforce development strategy,” said CEO Andrew N.Liveris. “Employers that utilize apprentices report higher productivity, higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment. The program supports Dow’s growth in the U.S. by building a talent pipeline in difficult-to fill technical roles.”

Another U.S. industry has been on the apprenticeship. In fact just this past week Huntington Ingalls Industries, announced this week that it graduated 148 from its Apprenticeship School at Newport News Shipbuilidng. The Apprentice School accepts about 225 apprentices per year. While that’s not a huge number they have been doing this 1919.

So it’s safe to say that many companies are active in providing apprenticeships and many more might encouraged as government programs offer capital and structure for creating a program.

It’s one of the most valuable tools for filling the ever-shrinking pipeline of manufacturing talent. I’m just not sure I’d put money on 5 million apprenticesip over the next five years.

American Foundry Society Institute

The AFS Institute, formerly Cast Metals Institute, hosts practical courses, seminars and workshops annually on all metalcasting processes, materials and disciplines, at AFS headquarters, in-plant seminars, and other venues throughout North America. Since 1957, the Institute has trained more than 89,700 students within the metalcasting industry. 

AFS Institute has invested $1 million dollars to the metalcasting industry to develop and rework its courses and content. The work was ignited by a desire to increase the Institute’s relevance and respond to the industry’s request for shorter, more interactive courses. 


  • Courses: Categories and descriptions for the growing list of 37 and counting courses regularly offered by the Institute.
  • Course Schedule: This link provides calendar dates for upcoming courses scheduled.
  • In-Plant Training: Bring the Institute to your facility.


The AFS Institute offers over 60 e-learning modules ranging from 15 minutes to 1 hour+ in length and viewable on any device or browser in our new Learning Management System (LMS).

E-Learning Subscription Program: Access the full suite of e-learning modules for your employees with a subscription.

E-Learning Modules a La Carte: E-learning modules ranging from 15 minutes to over an hour in length also are available for individual access for 30 days. 

Our e-learning modules focus on practical application you can use in your job immediately. Each module is based on adult education best practices and strives to engage you throughout the learning.

The e-learning modules consist of the following topics:

  • 6 casting defect analysis modules
  • 6 green sand molding modules
  • 3 nobake molding & coremaking modules
  • 4 coldbox coremaking modules
  • 8 cast iron modules
  • 4 copper modules
  • 5 steel modules
  • 4 aluminum modules
  • 14 AFS Mold & Core sand tests
  • 4 Gating & Riser Design modules
  • 1 Metalcasting safety
  • 4 Introduction to Metalcasting modules
  • 2 3D Sand Printing modules

New modules and topics are being added regularly. Check back soon! Link to page.

To be advised when more e-learning courses are available please contact the AFS Institute at lmssupport@afsinc.org

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Tags: Metal Casting, Green Sand Casting Products, Green Sand Foundry Supply, Foundry Supply, Foundry Supplies, Green Sand Metal Casting, Green Sand System, Green Sand Metalcasting, American Foundry Society Institute

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