Achieving our mission and vision requires that we continuously invest in our people. To that end, our annual goals include 24 hours of training and development per Associate, through a combination of instructor-led, virtual, and off-site courses. This ongoing investment in Associate development bolsters our long-standing commitment to promotion from within. In providing the training needed to make career growth opportunities available, nearly half of open positions are filled from within our organization.
Leadership development through a variety of programs is one of the pillars of our highly engaged culture. We create curricula for all levels of leadership, with both internal and external experts focused on teaching that addresses specific learning and application needs.
Our need for highly skilled CNC machine operators is addressed through the Hypertherm Technical Training Institute (HTTI). Newly hired machine operators are immersed in nine weeks of paid training. Upon completion, program graduates receive 22.5 college credits, are enrolled in a United States Department of Labor (USDOL) registered apprenticeship, and begin work in one of our modern manufacturing facilities.
Since its opening in 2007, the HTTI has successfully graduated more than 520 students. In addition to meeting our own need for technically skilled machine operators, we have trained 46 employees of other manufacturers in our region who were also in need of a highly skilled, well-educated manufacturing workforce.
Finally, our Sponsored Degree Program enables Associates with more than one year of tenure to receive support from Hypertherm Associates for their pursuit of a work-related undergraduate or graduate degree.
Our deep investment in workforce development is not solely altruistic; it is a means to achieve our mission!