At the core of Atlas is its skilled workers who bring precision, expertise, and dedication to every project. Its Apprentice Program, exemplifies the company's commitment to excellence and nurturing talent within the skilled trades.
A Legacy of Dedication and Innovation
The Atlas Apprentice Program traces its roots back to the 1980s when Dick Gimmel, the company’s second-generation owner and president at the time, initiated the idea of training young people in the machining trade. Gimmel, a true maestro of the machinist and welding trade, dedicated his life to sharing his expertise with young and enthusiastic individuals. He believed in cultivating talent and sowing the seeds of craftsmanship. The inception of the Apprentice Program was formed from his unwavering passion. Now, decades later, the program is stronger than ever.
The pivotal shift came around 2000, following the company's move to a new facility in the Jefferson Riverport in Louisville, KY. The program began to take shape, formalizing the collaboration with the Kentuckiana Machining Association (KMA), which meets state and federal education requirements specific to machinists, tool, and die makers, and welcoming talented individuals from vocational schools into its ranks.
A Pipeline to Apprenticeship: The Co-op Program
Around 2008, Rich Gimmel, the third-generation president, was passionate about expanding the apprentice program and initiated a Cooperative Learning Program, involving regular visits to area high schools and colleges that offer machinist vocational training. During these visits, the company showcases the advanced learning opportunities it can provide to aspiring machinists, welders and other skilled workers. The top applicants are interviewed and offered part-time employment, enabling them to complete their education while working half their day at Atlas.
Upon graduation, successful Co-op participants are offered full-time positions and are integrated into the apprentice program, ensuring a smooth transition at work and the opportunity to receive advanced certification.
Getting Paid to Learn and Staying Debt Free
One key feature that sets Atlas apart is its incredible support for its apprentices. The company covers 100% of educational expenses if apprentices maintain a passing grade. Remarkably, there is no obligation to remain employed with Atlas post-graduation, demonstrating the company's belief in the immense value and opportunities it offers.
The journey, however, is not for the faint-hearted. The four-year program requires firm dedication, with apprentices juggling between school and full-time work at Atlas. The pressure of acquiring a trade while navigating the fast-paced environment of Atlas helps identify those who have the resilience and skill to become accomplished machinists and welders.
This program offers an endless sea of opportunities. Graduates are armed with, not only an official state-recognized KMA certification, but a skill set that assures them of continuous employment, an invaluable asset in a dynamic job market. Many have leveraged this training to explore various career paths and ascend to leadership positions in different industries.
Logan Bruner, a graduate of the Four-Year Program in August 2023, is appreciative of the opportunity and growth he experienced during his apprenticeship. “I feel very thankful to be able to go through the program,” says Logan Bruner, “It was hard work, and I not only grew as a machinist but as a person. The skills I learned here are invaluable and I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Bruner also received his official KMA certification.
Growing the Apprentice Program
In 2021, company leadership recognized a gap in the traditional apprentice program. There were young individuals who desired to be part of Atlas’ worldwide Field Machining Division services, but due to the heavy travel demands, aspiring field machinists couldn't participate in the traditional KMA curriculum program. The dilemma led Atlas to develop and introduce a two-year apprentice program just for field machinists. As a result, the innovative new program is addressing the unique needs of the Field staff, thus ensuring the division's growth and sustainability.
Atlas’ new Field Apprentice Program had its first-ever graduate, Logan Taylor, in August 2023. He first learned about Atlas when he was in high school and says that he has dreamed of becoming a Field apprentice ever since. Logan jumped on the first opportunity he had to apply for the program. When he got accepted, he was overwhelmed with excitement.
“For me, this was more than just learning a skill,” said Logan Taylor. "It was about fulfilling a dream I have had for a long time. I’m proud of myself, and my family is proud of me, for completing this program and getting to work alongside the Field Division.”
Graduates and Current Apprentices: Shaping the Future
Those participating in the Atlas Apprentice Program are a testament to its success. To date, more than two dozen employees have completed the highly specialized training. In addition, nearly 20 more employees are currently enrolled in the program.
The Atlas Machine & Supply Apprentice Program is not just a journey; it represents dedication, innovation, and opportunity for the next generation of young workers. It also stands as a shining example of how a commitment to nurturing talent can shape the future and provide endless opportunities for those willing to seize them.
Established in 1907, Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc. is a fourth-generation family business renowned for excellence in the industrial services industry. The company's history is a testament to its commitment to craftsmanship and innovation. Over the years, Atlas has become a recognized leader in re-engineering, repairing, and manufacturing complex manufacturing equipment.
Atlas Machine and Supply is not only a trusted name in machine repair but also a leading provider of industrial air compressor services, rentals, parts, and more. Their in-house and on-site capabilities allow them to offer turnkey engineer-managed solutions for a diverse range of projects.
With a passion for excellence and a legacy of success, Atlas continues to lead the way in machining services and compressed air solutions.