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2023 - Jim Ahlborn embraces ECC apprentices as family

Tags: Academics
Published 11/08/2023
Jim Ahlborn, president and CEO of Suncast Corporation

Jim Ahlborn, president and CEO of Suncast Corporation

There isn’t one path for every student. For many, success is found outside classroom walls and across campus lines. Through Elgin Community College’s Apprenticeship Program, students are able to work as apprentices for local companies while maintaining their status as students. Jim Ahlborn serves as the President and CEO of Suncast Corporation, a Batavia-based manufacturer that has partnered with Elgin Community College since 2021.

Ahlborn plans to continue Suncast’s partnership with ECC for the long term because he sees value in the students and what they contribute. “With ECC, I know what I’m getting, and that’s hardworking, highly motivated, responsible students willing to take on any new challenge,” said Ahlborn. “At Suncast, we are trying to build a future of manufacturing leaders in our company and community from within.”

While completing an apprenticeship at Suncast, ECC students get access to world-class state-of-the-art equipment and constant interaction and direction from the premier experts in their field. They also get the opportunity to rotate between functions, like automation, maintenance, tool room, and process engineering, which provides exposure to many different areas and aspects of manufacturing. This experience helps students explore what they want to focus on for their careers.

For Ahlborn, seeing these students grow into leaders and gain self-confidence is the highlight of an ongoing partnership with ECC. “It’s amazing to see these students' transition with Suncast,” he shares. “I’ll always remember my friend’s son, Michael, who came into our program from ECC and started off disconnected. He didn’t seem to truly know if he belonged. Now, he is a mentor to all the apprentices in his department. It’s amazing to see the confident, articulate, and mature leader he’s become.”

Seeing the development of ECC students at Suncast brings high encouragement from the company that they remain at Suncast for the long term. “I’d like it if all of our apprentices from ECC not only remain at Suncast after they’ve completed the program but decide to stay for the long term,” said Ahlborn. “We are family-owned, and we embrace anyone that wants to ‘work in the family’ for years to come.”

Ahlborn accepted the 2023 Friend of the ECC Foundation Award for Suncast at the 2023 ECC Foundation Gala. For more information on apprenticeships at ECC, visit