SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dakota Eckerson, 19, is a Republic High School grad and studying at OTC. 

He’s receiving a formal education but also getting the “hands-on” education with experts in the field. He’s part of SRC’s apprenticeship program and working at the company’s Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation. 

“I’m learning a lot about factory life like to work in a factory because I’ve never done something like this before. My last job really wasn’t in the slightest like this, but I’m learning a lot of helpful skills like machining and just general work.  

Through the company program; Dakota is making a good wage, he has employee stock, health insurance, can take part in the 401-k plan and he’s receiving tuition reimbursements while studying at OTC. 

Fittingly, he’s studying industrial systems technology and machine tool technology through trade school. 

‘The apprenticeship program is really part of our broader strategic initiative for attracting talent. Our organization is growing like many organizations…and the numbers are just daunting. The number of open positions exceeds the number of available workers as many employers know,” said Scot Scobee. He’s the Human Resource Director at Springfield ReManufacturing Corp. 

He says with baby boomers retiring by the thousands each day…they saw a vision a few years back and looked at a strategic plan to stay ahead of this competitive job market.  

“One of the avenues that we can create to make it easier for individuals to want to join our organization and one of those avenues were younger individuals. Juniors and seniors in high school that had an interest and aptitude in mechanical things but we didn’t have a pathway for them to join us and so we connected with OTC’s Center for Workforce Development.” 

Recruiting and retaining these potential long-term employees. At the age of 16–the youth can start building a future career. 

“A lot of professionals will mention, it’s a hot market for the job seen because a lot of companies need employees, said Dakota. 

Former Springfield City Manager, Greg Burris, is now with the United Way of the Ozarks. He works closely with regional HR Directors and companies on the challenges facing them in the competitive market. A lot of jobs open but not a lot of skilled workers there to fill them.  

“I think if you look at what SRC is doing they’re really intentional about what they’re in the way of recruitment and retention of their employees because they see it. They are doing some exceptional things and they’re sort of forward thinking.  

As for Dakota, there are tremendous opportunities are available to him. He’s being trained by more senior, experienced co-workers and he’s grateful they are helping him learn the skills. “It’s a little daunting because they know their stuff so it’s great to just learn from them.” 

He’s been in the apprenticeship program at year at SRC. 

“I’m probably going to stay with the trade school; maybe later down the line, if I decide I want to do a four-year degree I will. But I feel there are plenty of really good jobs you can get with a two-year degree that is out there.” 

In the near future, he says he plans to get his degree and stay with SRC. A corporation that prides itself on being committed to creating sustainable regional jobs starting nearly four-decades ago.