Workforce Development

Program Profile: Kroger Manufacturing Apprenticeship

June 1, 2017  • UpSkill America & Jaime S. Fall


Kroger Manufacturing


Upskilling program name

Registered apprenticeship programs


Program goal(s)

Participating in registered apprenticeship programs helps deliver on our company’s ambitious growth strategy. As our current workforce continues to evolve and turnover, we feel that participating in registered apprenticeship programs will…

  • Build a deep bench of skilled associates
  • Recruit, develop, and retain top talent
  • Establish partnerships and relationships in our local communities to help us hire high-potential candidates, especially the younger generation just entering the workforce


Who provides the program services (in-house, outside provider, etc.)?

Kroger Manufacturing has partnered with the Department of Labor to register apprenticeship programs in various technical roles throughout our division. We also work hand-and-hand with local high schools, vocational schools, and colleges (in each division) to create pipelines for students who envision a career in skilled labor. Additionally these key partners provide educational opportunities for our apprentices to “earn while they learn”.


Who is the program is designed to assist?

The program is designed to assist high school students and college students (at any age) interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing, as well as, incumbent workers interested in developing new skills and job advancement.


Who is eligible for the program?

Minimum qualifications for the program include being at least 18 years of age with a HS diploma / GED, satisfactory score on a standardize assessment, and exhibited leadership skills.


How is the program funded (i.e., company/participant share; prepaid by company vs. individual reimbursement; etc.)?

The apprenticeship program is funded through various grants and scholarships awarded to the Company. Any expenses not covered through grants and scholarships are funded by the Company.


Is there an annual or lifetime cap on the program benefits?



Do employees get paid time off to participate or are they in any way compensated for their participation?

In addition to each apprentice receiving free education while in the program, they will receive competitive wages, “earn while they learn.” Some programs require the class-room training to be completed on personal time, and some allow class-time during scheduled work time.


What is your participation goal, and what actions are you taking to reach that goal?

By the end of the fiscal 2017 year, all 35 Kroger Manufacturing locations will have a registered apprenticeship program will at least 40 registered apprentices across the division.


What, if any, supports do you have in place to ensure participants complete the program?

Each manufacturing plant within the division has its own measurements and processes in place to ensure each apprentice successfully completes the program. For example, each plant has an apprentice governance committee that oversees the program and current apprentices.


What data are you collecting/tracking?



How do you measure or plan to measure the benefits the program brings to the company?

Number of apprentices within the division, retention rate of our graduated apprentices, turnover rate in our skilled roles, and time to fill our skilled roles will be tracked.


What results have you seen to date?

YTD, we have about 11 apprentices. We have a little more than half of our plants working on rolling out this program (all will have begun this process by early March).


In hindsight, what is the best decision you made in setting up this program?

We piloted the apprenticeship program at 6 of our manufacturing facilities. This helped developed a template for the remaining 29 plants to use to make the creation of each of their programs a smooth process.


What, if any, changes have you made in the program since its introduction? Why were these changes made?

During the pilot and phase I roll out of the program through the division, we focused on maintenance apprentices. We recently made the change to expand programs to include other skilled trades including lab technicians, bakers, and manufacturing production workers.


What advice would you give those considering a similar project?

Build relationships with your city’s office of apprenticeship, local schools, and workforce development groups. These relationships are crucial to successfully implementing the program and sustaining.



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