New Leader Manufacturing to host first youth registered weld apprenticeship program

New Leader Manufacturing (NLM) has partnered with the Iowa Department of Education and Grant Wood AEA to establish a youth registered weld apprenticeship program. The program will be the first of its kind in Eastern Iowa. NLM plans to host one of the eight available apprenticeships in the Corridor this year.

According to a news release, the apprenticeship program will provide students the opportunity for hands-on welding experience while working under the mentorship of some of NLM’s most talented welders.

“NLM has a strong history of partnering with local nonprofits, schools, and other organizations to remove as many barriers as possible for individuals to enter the workplace,” said Katie Wagner, director of operations at NLM, in the release. “This youth welding apprenticeship program is another great way for students to get exposure to possible careers after high school.”

While gaining hands-on experience in the workplace, students will be enrolled in welding-related courses through Kirkwood Community College (KCC) and their Career Academy. The Career Academy allows students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses through their high school and/or a local KCC Regional Center.

Miranda Hammes, HR manager at NLM, explains in the release that “[NLM] wants students to know that you don’t need a four-year degree to earn a career that is not only rewarding, but also pays well – the skilled trades offer incredible opportunities and open a tremendous number of doors.”

“The Apprenticeship Program is a win-win for both the student and the business,” said Laura Seyfer, workforce specialist at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, in the release. “It’s important to show students all the career opportunities that are available in our area, especially those in the trades, to assist in retaining and attracting workforce to our metro.”

The Youth Registered Weld Apprenticeship Program is made possible by New Leader Manufacturing, Grant Wood AEA, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids Community Schools, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and the Governor’s Office.

For more information about New Leader Manufacturing, how to apply, or to connect with a NLM representative, visit