CHICAGO (CBS) — A north suburban company is borrowing a page from its European parent operation and starting a new apprentice program.

GF Machining Solutions sells and services high-tech machines that perform all kinds of manufacturing and medical tasks. But, according to company marketing specialist John Carlson, the company has had a tough time finding workers.

“With the skills gap that’s going on in the U.S. right now, it’s getting hard to find people to run these machines and service these machines and then, when you can find people to do that, they’re very expensive,” Carlson said.

GF Machining Solutions, in partnership with Harper College, is hiring four apprentices. They’ll be paid to go to school and to work at the company. Then, after the three-year apprenticeship, they’ll become full-time workers and make $45,000 per year.

Carlson said the apprentices will start at $12 an hour, and be paid $14 an hour and $16 an hour in the succeeding years of their apprenticeship.

The Lincolnshire company is Swiss-owned. Carlson said the parent company has had a similar program going on in Europe for some time.

He said this is the first time the company is trying it in the United States.

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