With a welding certificate from Antelope Valley College in hand, Edward McKee found a job at BYD’s Lancaster bus and coach factory in 2016. Now BYD and AVC have helped him sharpen his skills and build a career in the green technology industry.
He already had a good job building bus frames, which allowed him to buy his first home, but McKee was given an opportunity to train in an apprenticeship program created through a partnership between BYD, SMART Local 105, and Antelope Valley College.
“It’s a stepping stone for me,” McKee said of the apprenticeship program. “Knowledge is power and this makes me more valuable employee. It makes me a more rounded employee and a more versatile employee.”
Called the Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship, the BYD program totals 16.5 units of college credit. Classroom work includes OSHA 10 safety training, blueprint reading, manufacturing concepts, machine trade mathematics, lean manufacturing techniques, technical memo writing skills, and emerging trends in manufacturing.
“This apprenticeship program helps workers get the skills they need to thrive in the green technology revolution,” said Patrick Duan, Senior Vice President of North America. “Our employees gain skills that will help advance their careers. The company benefits by having skilled workers who will help improve efficiency in production and the quality of our buses.”
Technical training also consists of hands-on training in basic skills, precision metal work, electrical wiring and assembly of complex mechanical and electrical systems, among other skills.
The apprenticeship program is the result of a Community Benefits Agreement between BYD, SMART Local 105, and Jobs to Move America (JMA), a coalition of community-based groups. The agreement, first signed in 2017 and renewed in 2020, calls for creating pathways into the manufacturing industry for underrepresented and underserved populations in Los Angeles County.
Under the CBA, BYD committed to a goal of recruiting and hiring workers from populations facing significant barriers to employment, such as veterans and returning citizens. In addition, populations that have been excluded from the manufacturing industry, such as women and African Americans will also be recruited and placed.
The Official Sponsor of Mother Nature™, BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, is the world’s leading electric vehicle company with proven innovative technology for cars, buses, trucks, forklifts, and rail systems – like SkyRail. Globally, BYD is committed to corporate social responsibility, monitoring our supply chain in terms of human rights, environmental safety, hazardous substance control and intellectual property rights. We select only suppliers who share our commitment to labor practices, human rights standards and the environment. BYD has 220,000 employees across the globe, including nearly 1,000 in North America. For more information, please visit www.BYD.com or follow BYD on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Media contact: Jim Skeen, (661) 264-8365