Parkland College Announces New Mechanical Line Technician Apprenticeship

Parkland College Announces New Mechanical Line Technician Apprenticeship

Kraft Heinz named inaugural partner for first-in-the-nation program.

Today, Parkland College announced the launch of the first-in-the-nation USDOL-registered apprenticeship program for mechanical line technicians. Kraft Heinz, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, will be the first partner of the inaugural program supporting recruitment efforts for the line technician position at its production facilities.

This one-year apprenticeship program will combine 2,000 on-the-job training hours supervised by an experienced Kraft Heinz mentor along with Parkland College's Industrial Mechanics competency-based curriculum. After completing the program, participants will receive a nationally recognized journey worker certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor.

While working in the Champaign, Ill., Kraft Heinz facility, apprentices will also be enrolled in self-paced, instructor-supervised classes at Parkland, which increases retention of knowledge and expedites the overall training process. All coursework will occur during paid working hours.

"Parkland College is pleased that our current expansion of more than 10 registered apprenticeships now includes Kraft Heinz," said President Pamela Lau. "This new program brings us to the forefront of partnership initiatives that prepare our students for in-demand, hands-on career training. It also continues building a robust area pipeline of entry-level employees armed with job-ready skills and experiences in today's high-tech industries."

Additional support for this new career training program comes from Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all. JFF was instrumental in connecting Parkland and Kraft Heinz leadership and provided expertise to the team as this new program was developed. Myriam Sullivan, interim vice president of the Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning at JFF, said JFF is pleased to support the ongoing collaboration between Parkland College and Kraft Heinz.
"This first-in-the-nation program is a prime example of how apprenticeships can provide effective solutions," Sullivan said. "We are happy to support this work that not only solves pressing workforce challenges but also provides opportunities for workers."

The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) is also supporting Kraft Heinz apprenticeships at Parkland with state workforce funding through the East Central Illinois Workforce Board (ECIWB). Justin Arnold, executive director of the ECIWB and director of workforce development at CCRPC, said the Kraft Heinz apprenticeship program will help fill an economic aim for communities in the county.

"Expanding apprenticeships in our region is a goal of CCRPC," Arnold said. "It is exciting to support employers and to use public-private partnerships to transform opportunities for workers and industry."

"Our Champaign facility is one of the largest volume producing plants for Kraft Heinz in North America—making high quality, iconic products that are beloved by so many," said Bill George, Champaign Plant Manager at Kraft Heinz. "One of our company values is 'We champion great people,' and partnerships like this one with Parkland College provide unique opportunities for career growth and development for our team, as we continue on our journey to lead the future of food."  

Individuals interested in applying for the apprenticeship program can learn more at

Businesses in District 505 that wish to explore opportunities available within an apprenticeship program partnership may contact Aimee Densmore, program manager, workforce partnerships, at

Parkland College is a fully accredited public community college serving the needs of District 505, Illinois' third largest community college district. Offering 130+ degree and certificate options for career placement or academic transfer. Parkland's programs keep in step with today's careers and the employment needs of the area and feature the latest technologies in computers, agriculture, automotive, healthcare, media, and more. Agreements with state public and private four-year institutions ensure transferable credits, while Parkland's partnerships with area businesses provide students with hands-on, real-world experience. The mission of Parkland College is to engage the community in learning.

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