Build Your Company’s Skilled Workforce with Apprenticeships

By on December 21, 2015
Build Your Company’s Skilled Workforce with Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship proved to be a hot topic on December 2nd as business, education, economic developers and other community leaders gathered at St. Louis Community College’s Center for Workforce Innovation to learn more. Enthusiastic participants learned that apprenticeship, while a very old method of training workers on-the-job, remains very relevant in today’s national and global economy and could work well for companies around our region. Those attending also learned that apprenticeship offers employers in every industry the tools to develop a highly skilled workforce to help grow their business and for workers offers opportunities to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to succeed and advance in their careers.

Addressing our current skilled workforce challenges were speakers Neil Perry, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship, and Dr. John Gaal from the Joint Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Program, who provided foundational information and demonstrated possible models for consideration. Dr. Gaal described various approaches that included the European and American models and the highly successful German model that’s been active since the Middle Ages. Panelists from Weir Minerals, Metropolitan Sewer District, and Boeing gave overviews of how apprenticeship and pre-employment training works at their respective companies and how it has provided the skilled workers they need.

Steve Long, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Workforce and Community Development, and Jim Duane, Apprenticeship Coordinator, described how apprenticeship is a highly effective model for attracting and developing a skilled workforce while offering students a way to start a career without taking on student loan debt. It was pointed out how the college could become the training arm of small and medium size companies who may not have a training department. There was also discussion of pooled training resources around like training for companies who do not hire a lot people annually. Fueled by reports from employers that they’re experiencing great difficulty in locating skilled workers (as reported in the college’s 2015 State of St. Louis Workforce Report ), the college recently became a Registered Apprenticeship Consortium College member (RACC) to address the need and provide apprenticeship as a training model with a proven track record.

Registered Apprenticeship training may include on-the-job learning from an assigned company mentor combined with technical training at St. Louis Community College or other institution of higher learning. It may involve degree or non-degree programs such as college certificates or national or local certifications. Customized training solutions and flexibility are essential for a successful apprenticeship program and may include hands-on classes, online learning, or a blend of both. Finding the right training solution with the degree of flexibility needed is critical for both apprentice and company success.

If your business could benefit from learning more about an apprenticeship in manufacturing or logistics, please give us a call.

Links to apprenticeship resources are available at

For assistance with developing or modifying an existing apprenticeship program please call Jim Duane at 314-539-5316.

If you’d like to visit either of our two facilities at Florissant Valley, the Center for Workforce Innovation or the Emerson Center for Manufacturing and Engineering, we’d be happy to give you a personal tour. Just contact Amy Sonderman at 314-513-4307 or Jean Pollard at 314-513-4605 to arrange a visit.

For questions about other college programs and resources, or to provide feedback, contact Kathie Chambers at 314-539-5309.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event:

About Kathie Chambers

Kathie is a Workforce Solutions Group Senior Project Manager who works across industries with business leaders and training professionals to maximize training effectiveness. Her experience includes training and development in the corporate, manufacturing, public/non-profit sectors, and business management in privately held companies.

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