Building a Career Path with the Pre-Apprentice Program

July 7, 2022

“Growing up with Caterpillar in my family, I understood the learning opportunities I could have.” 

Caterpillar has been a part of Justin Parker’s life ever since he can remember. His dad enjoyed a rewarding career at Caterpillar for over thirty years alongside his uncle. When Justin had the opportunity to enroll in Caterpillar’s Assembly Pre-Apprentice Program in high school, he jumped at the chance. 

The pre-apprenticeship program empowers students to interact with Caterpillar employees, observe and participate in daily operations, learn about potential careers and perform certain job tasks. Students in the program gain valuable vocational skills that aren’t often available to many high school students. 

After high school, Justin was offered a part-time position as a product assembler at Caterpillar while studying industrial engineering at East Carolina University. His experience allowed him to be part of Caterpillar’s Leadership Technical Development Program (LTDP), which put him to work in different facilities throughout Caterpillar, gaining essential technical and communication skills. The program led to an internship opportunity as a manufacturing engineer, and Parker became a member in Operations in the LTDP. He’s now in his second rotation and serving as a manufacturing section manager in Decatur, Illinois, upon his college graduation in 2020. 

All the yellow blood running in his family means he has built-in mentors to turn to for advice. 

“I am fortunate. I can do that if I have a question or need to bend my uncle and dad’s ear. If I need a hard message delivered, at least I’m hearing it from family,” he shared. As a section manager, Justin is passionate for developing talent. Even though he’s early in his career, he’s already served as an intern ally for the pre-apprentice program the past two years. 

“If I can help someone start their career at Caterpillar, I have done my job,” he added. 

Justin Parker