Mohawk Industries expands apprentice program

Mohawk Industries expands apprentice program

State, federal scholarships available for participants

August 23rd, 2016 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Calhoun, Ga.-based Mohawk Industries is the largest flooring manufacturer in the world.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

How to apply

Information about applying for Mohawk’s apprenticeship program is available online at

Melissa Kernea prepares to pick up a load of yarn off of a conveyor belt at Mohawk Industries, Inc. in Dalton where she has worked for five years.

Melissa Kernea prepares to pick up a load...

Photo by Kathleen Cole

Mohawk Industries is expanding its apprenticeship program to help recruit and train more workers for advanced manufacturing jobs with the world's biggest flooring company.

Mohawk currently employs 16 full-time apprentices and three pre-apprentices in Georgia. But thanks to 50 new scholarships for the apprenticeship program made available through the state and federal governments, more people will now be able to take part in the program.

The Technical College System of Georgia and the United States Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeships combined to provide money to expand Mohawk's apprenticeship program.

In the program, apprentices are paid by Mohawk for work done at the company, but are also compensated for time spent in the classroom. Mohawk also covers students' tuition costs when scholarships aren't available.

The apprenticeship program combines classroom learning at a state technical school with hands-on work at a Mohawk plant, resulting in a potentially years-long program in which participants learn skills necessary to work high-tech floor making machines.

Linda McEntire, director of technical training at Mohawk, said the apprenticeship program isn't the same as an internship program.

"Typically, an internship program is a short-term learning experience that complements an individual's academic pursuits, while an apprenticeship program provides career advancement opportunities for individuals who are already employed at the company," she said.

Upon completing the apprenticeship program, participants can either receive an apprenticeship certification or finish additional course work and complete an associate's degree in mechatronics.

"At Mohawk, we use cutting-edge technology to create innovative products," said McEntire. "This advanced equipment requires specialized training to master."

She said the company is looking for "bright, engaged and creative employees to implement and maintain these technological investments."

The apprenticeship program is designed to develop workers for Mohawk, while providing the same workers with career experience and opportunities to advance internally.

David Salazar, a current apprentice at Mohawk, said he "would definitely encourage others to take advantage of this opportunity."