Three young men who think spatially, and have loved to dismantle and reassemble things throughout their lives, are now among an elite group. The trio of tinkerers — David Ayoub, Ezeldein Elgamil and Phoenix Overholser — recently earned positions in the Hudson County Community College and Eastern Millwork Inc. Holz Technik Academy Apprenticeship Program.
They signed employment agreements earlier this summer at EMI in Jersey City.
The Holz Technik Apprenticeship Program began in 2019 with a partnership forged between HCCC and EMI. The federally registered apprenticeship program is open to just a handful of high school graduates every year, and new hires pursue high-tech careers while earning a debt-free college degree.
The partnership reflects the HCCC’s expansion of its workforce development program, and Eastern Millwork’s need for employees trained in advanced manufacturing.
Hailed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy as the blueprint for New Jersey’s economic future, the HCCC-EMI Holz Technik program embraces talent and technology and is modeled on proven European forms of education.
Apprentices split their time between practical, on-the-job experience and college courses.
As employees of EMI, a 30-year-old custom woodworking company that has embraced technology to automate high-end manufacturing and installation, the apprentices receive a $24,500 starting salary, paid vacations/holidays, health benefits and 401(k). Within five years, as they climb the career ladder at EMI, the apprentices will earn an Associate in Science in advanced manufacturing from HCCC and a Bachelor of Science in technical studies from Thomas Edison State University with no college debt. They will progress to a $70,000 salary level at the end of their apprenticeships.
“The increasingly global nature of advanced manufacturing poses great challenges to companies like EMI that seek workers who combine artisan skills with technology,” HCCC President Christopher Reber said. “We are proud of our unique partnership and these talented apprentices of the Class of 2028.”
EMI founder and CEO Andrew Campbell stated: “Our partnership with Hudson County Community College helps to fill a void. It opens doors for the young people of our community who have demonstrated promise and aptitude to earn a tuition-free college degree and enjoy well-paying careers with many options. It also enables our company — and our industry — to provide value that importers cannot provide.”