“I Want to Work at 3M”

Many early 3M employees, including William L. McKnight and Archibald G. Bush, had “business” training or high school training in “mechanic arts.”

When William Viervering was hired in 1916 to help insure quality control, he had some high school chemistry training. He went on to get a chemistry degree from the University of Minnesota after World War I.

Richard Carlton, the first 3M employee who was a University of Minnesota graduate, was hired in 1921 as a laboratory assistant. It was his opinion that a manufacturing organization couldn’t go very far without technically trained people. He rose through the ranks to become the company president, succeeding McKnight in 1949.

Richard Drew, an engineering school dropout, was hired in 1921 for the research lab. He went on to develop masking tape and cellophane tape.

The company recruited from the local high schools. It offered Employee-Employer-Education days and Get-Acquainted days to bring teachers and placement counselors to the Saint Paul Plant so they could see company operations and policies firsthand. Commercial and industrial arts teachers were encouraged to recommend students for specific jobs. Some students were hired for summer and part-time work and received course credit for their on-the-job training.

Colleges and universities were important sources of employees for laboratory and technical jobs. 3M recruiting teams made regular visits to campuses.

Because 3M encouraged internal promotions, it also instituted an apprenticeship training program in the machine shop in 1949. It allowed workers in the program to achieve craftsman status. 3M has continued a strong internal training program throughout the company.