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Arcelor Mittal: Developing Steelworkers for the Future


Billy Joel’s hit record “Allentown” harkened back to a day when the steel industry was labor-intensive, providing lifelong jobs as a laborer even for those with few skills. Today, the modern steel industry is highly automated and exceptionally efficient. Fewer employees are required, but those working in today’s steel plants must be able to use information technology, understand the science of steelmaking, exercise critical thinking skills, and communicate clearly, both orally and in writing.

As the current generation of experienced steelworkers nears retirement, there are questions of where their replacements will come from, and how prepared they’ll be. Arcelor Mittal, the largest steel company in the world, wants to be prepared, and its Steelworker for the Future program – a Great Manufacturing Story – advances that goal.

Partnering with the United Steelworkers union and community colleges in Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia, the Luxemborg-based company offers a program to prepare students for the steel industry of today and tomorrow. It includes classroom learning and paid internships on the plant floor. Those completing the program can receive an associate’s degree, plus an opportunity to get a high-paying, full-time job at Arcelor Mittal. The early results have been encouraging, prompting the company to expand the program this year.