Ledwell and Texarkana College collaborate to train the students of today and the employees of tomorrow.
For nearly 75 years Ledwell has been synonymous with quality and customer service in automotive manufacturing. Today, the company offers custom manufactured truck bodies and trailers, as well as parts and service. Businesses of all sizes come to Ledwell with transportation needs and are provided with the best, most innovative solutions.
With a storied history and a reputation for precision, Ledwell has high standards for its employees – nearly 500 strong. Its sizable workforce includes nearly 300 welders who are expected to produce equipment that is reliable and meets the customer’s needs.
As the company continues to grow so must its talent pipeline. To ensure it continues to hire quality employees, Ledwell turns to long-time workforce and education partner Texarkana College (TC).
“Texarkana College understands our company’s performance goals and our culture. By working with the college and its instructors we have been able to customize curriculum, create internship programs and serve on advisory boards to offer a seamless transition from Texarkana College student to Ledwell employee,” said Lesley Ledwell Dukelow, President of Ledwell.
As Ledwell continued to expand its customer base it recognized it must also expand its machinery. With miles of welding that must be completed each month, the company invested more than $200,0000 in a robotic welding machine to expedite production. However, the company did not have any in-house personnel trained on the equipment and found the recruitment process daunting.
Building off their close relationship with instructors at TC, Ledwell leadership asked if there were any students who could help fill this new position and responsibility within the company. Immediately, Thomas Holt, instructor, suggested top-performing student Amos Brown who was enrolled in the Electronics Technology and Instrumentation certificate program. After an initial meeting, Amos was hired even prior to finishing his coursework as a robotic welding programmer. However, working with the College he earned his certificate and has become an integral part of the company’s continued growth.
“We train our students not just on the skills they need to become certified welder but to be a valuable employee that understands the dynamics of local industry. Working with our business partners, like Ledwell, we don’t just fill positions with our graduates, we create long-term partnerships,” said Texarkana College welding instructor, Jill Yates.
But Ledwell’s commitment to TC and a trained workforce goes beyond just one employee. Building off of years of partnership and talent pipeline development, the Ledwell family established the Betty and Buddy Ledwell Workforce Training Center in 2019. The 20,000 square foot training center focuses on preparing students to enter the workforce with skills in industrial maintenance, construction technology, and other in-demand occupations. The center offers three programs that allow students to earn up to ﬁve one-year certiﬁcations and includes the soft skills training that employers expect. Already the training center has enrolled more than 250 students and has partnered with 44 new and expanding businesses to help meet their talent and training needs. Learn more about the Ledwell Training Center.