A registered apprenticeship is a highly flexible “earn while you learn” training model for employment that pays more as a worker (apprentice) reaches higher productivity levels. Additionally, this approach combines employer-driven job-related instruction with on-the-job learning under the direct supervision of an industry professional. In 2017, the Missouri AFL-CIO started a state partnership to promote and expand apprenticeship opportunities in industrialized manufacturing.
The Industrialized Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship program is a hybrid registered apprenticeship program that provides production workers with the knowledge and competencies needed to meet the demands in the advanced manufacturing environment. Ranging from food processing to plastic and biomedical production, this apprenticeship structure enhances the skill sets and productivity of workers while simultaneously meeting a specific employer.
The hybrid approach combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction or demonstrated skill attainment. Program staff will serve as the liaison between participating community colleges, employers, apprentices, and the local workforce development board to facilitate initial start-up as well as tracking worker progress through the apprenticeship program. The ultimate goal is that the worker completes the program and receives a nationally-recognized credential to support the employer’s development efforts.
The program structure provides immediate benefits to both the employer and the worker. By working under the framework of this program, employers have the opportunity to both identify an area of needed development and select an employee to benefit from the training.
Once the employer secures the interest of the worker, program staff will connect the worker with the local workforce development board where the worker will take a placement test to establish an initial skills baseline. Upon successful completion of the assessment, program staff will provide assistance with enrolling the worker in the corresponding instructional program. Once this process is complete, the employee will begin his or her apprenticeship.
In addition, financial assistance is available to the employer through the local workforce development board. Once the employee is enrolled in the corresponding instructional program, the local workforce development board will work with the employer to determine the level of available tuition assistance. Throughout the process, program staff will be available to answer questions, assist with paperwork, and connect interested participants.
The research is clear that apprenticeship programs benefit both workers and businesses because the combination of classroom learning with immediate on-the-job training helps workers gain valuable skills while ensuring employers meet specific workforce needs.
Apprenticeship Coordinator – Missouri AFL-CIO