SHELBY - Area business leaders and educators learned more about Ohio's registered apprentice program during an “Apprenticeship Open House,” at the Kehoe Center.
Jeanette McClain, apprenticeship service provider at the Office of Workforce Development, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, addressed about 25 people prior to the Nov 15 Area 10 Workforce Development Board meeting about the benefits of having registered apprenticeship programs at their companies.
Registered Apprenticeship programs teach high-level skills for today's workplace. Ohio has more than 1,100 registered apprenticeship programs in various fields. Each program includes, at minimum, 2,000 hours of structured on-the-job training and 144 hours per year of related technical instruction, according to information on the state program.
Both businesses and job seekers benefit from apprenticeship opportunities. Business can gain access to a pool of workers who have been trained to industry specifications at a reasonable cost. Apprentices are able to earn a living as they train for high-quality, reliable employment and a rewarding career.
Articulation arrangements between the registered apprenticeship sponsors and institutions of higher learning afford the apprentice-learner college credit for course work completed in their training experience. As a result, more than 5,000 registered apprenticeships are dually enrolled in their registered apprenticeship program and college, according to the state's website.
McClain said there are 29 Ohio colleges, universities and career centers teaming up with employers to offer instruction in dozens of different occupations. Programs can last from one year to five years, she said.
McClain, who covers northwest Ohio, has 201 active programs and five new programs were started last year, with 1,865 active apprentices and 304 new apprentices to date this year.
Every registered sponsor or new sponsor must be in correlation or collaborated with the University System of Ohio, she said.
"So no matter what, you either have to have your curriculum approved by the University System of Ohio schools or you have to be sending your apprentices somewhere that are in correlation with the University System of Ohio or having a bilateral agreement," she said. She said the standards were upgraded in 2014 because the course work and earned college work can lead toward a degree.
"It's at no cost to you," McClain said of the registered apprenticeship programs.
Local Bricklayers Local 40 Matt McClester also shared his first-hand knowledge of what an apprenticeship means with those in attendance at the Nov. 15 workshop.
Matt McClester, who works with the Local Bricklayers Local 40, serves on a regional apprenticeship council, which covers northern Ohio. He said a new training center is being built in Amherst to replace one that was located in Hudson. That center will train about 170 apprentices across northern Ohio. A southern Ohio apprentice training center trains roughly 110 apprentices.
McClester completed a four-year apprenticeship and benefited from it.
He said he graduated from Ashland High School, attended college for a couple years then left college for a job in construction.
"I had a series of temporary factory jobs," he said. " ... I worked a lot of other dead-end jobs."
In 2000, he had an opportunity to start an apprenticeship program, which he completed.
He said there are thousands of workers in this area who are willing and able to develop skilled workers.
But he said they need some guidance from employers to show they truly care.
"Apprenticeships can also help boost employee retention," he said. "Apprentices are loyal to companies who invest time and money in training them," he said.
McClester said the average retention rate for former apprentices across all industries is 73 percent.
He said he feels a great debt of gratitude for what his apprenticeship program helped him to do.
"Not only in life but the skills it taught me to enable me to provide for my family," McClester said.
He said apprenticeship programs also are proven models for worker advancement, with clearly defined terms of advancement allowing apprentices to have a vision for their future.
"I've seen this first hand. When I go out to visit potential apprentices, I show them on paper as long as they can fulfill the requirements, and job training and classroom instructions, their wages are guaranteed to increase each year and they can actually see dollar amounts," McClester said.
He said the apprenticeships are four years. The first year is at 50 percent of a journey person's rate, then 60 percent and then 80 and 90 percent.
"When I show them the carrot at the end of a stick, there is a journeyman's person's wage at the end," he said.
source: Mansfield News Journal