Ivy Tech Kokomo Region marks National Apprenticeship Week

KOKOMO, Ind. — Expanding apprenticeship opportunities are critical as Ivy Tech Community College works to fulfill its mission as Indiana’s engine of workforce development, a fact being celebrated during the fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week.

For Stephen Waddel, apprenticeship coordinator for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region, the ever-increasing number of area companies using apprenticeships to meet their need for skilled employees is proof of the value of this “earn and learn” training model.

“Apprenticeship combines work-based learning with classroom instruction to meet the needs of employers for skilled employees,” Waddel said, noting that Ivy Tech has been an important apprenticeship partner for area businesses for more than 40 years. To meet the needs of employers, Ivy Tech offers apprenticeship classes days and evenings at both the Logansport and Kokomo campuses.

In the Kokomo Region, employers who work with Ivy Tech on apprenticeship programs have included A Raymond Tinnerman, Braun Corporation, Lehigh Hanson Inc., Carter Fuel Systems, FCA North America, Haynes International, Matthew Warren, Milbank Manufacturing, Owens Corning, Paper Works Industries, Plymouth Tube, Small Parts Inc., Steel Parts, Tyson Foods, and the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

“For several years, Haynes has supported apprenticeships in instrument repair,” Waddel said. “This year, they have added apprenticeships to prepare employees in the skilled trades of electrician, machine repair, and lubrication specialist.

“Matthew Warren Spring in Logansport recently began an industrial maintenance repair apprenticeship and Tyson Foods in Logansport started their machine maintenance program this fall.”

And, he noted, apprenticeship programs are now being offered in areas beyond the traditional industrial and building trades.

“While still in the planning phase, we are talking with banks and hospitals about future apprenticeships,” Waddel said. “Employers in all sectors of the economy feel the need to reskill and upskill their employees, and developing a skilled labor force in the Kokomo Region results in an improved quality of life through better-paying jobs,” he continued. “That’s what is being celebrated in National Apprenticeship Week 2019.”

According to Waddel, companies that offer apprenticeship programs can diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, receive tax credits, and more.

Apprenticeship programs are developed when an employer wants to provide the training required for existing employees to develop a skill set the employer needs. The programs generally involve a four-year commitment for a total of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training with journeymen experienced in the trade along with classroom instruction developed and provided by Ivy Tech to meet the employer’s needs, Waddel said.

The programs represent a real investment in the employee. Companies pay their wages as they go through the on-the-job training as well as the cost of schooling and sometimes the cost of tools and uniforms. At the end, they have employees trained and certified in needed skilled trades and the employees have locally and often nationally recognized credentials that can advance their careers.

Additionally, it’s possible for the apprentices to earn college degrees as well. Under a recently approved initiative, Ivy Tech can work with employers to develop workforce alignment certificates and technical certificates based on completion of an agreed-upon group of courses linked to the employer’s apprenticeship program. Under the IBEW apprenticeship program, at the end of the apprenticeship, graduates also have earned Ivy Tech technical certificates and associate degrees.

Waddel is a card-carrying journeyman electrician who received his skilled trades apprenticeship academic training through Ivy Tech and brings that experience to his job as apprenticeship coordinator. He notes that in addition to industry credentials, people who successful complete apprenticeships also earn technical certificates and associate degrees from Ivy Tech.

To learn more about apprenticeship programs at Ivy Tech, contact Waddel at swaddel@ivytech.edu or by phone at 765-252-5545.

About National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration that brings together business leaders, labor, educational institutions, and Americans interested in apprenticeships to showcase the impact apprenticeship programs have on closing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“Apprenticeships are one of the most effective ways to develop a highly skilled workforce,” Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said. “As our economy grows, the Trump Administration continues to focus on expanding apprenticeship opportunities for America’s workforce.”

With 7.2 million job openings in the United States, apprenticeships are industry-driven, high-quality career pathways in which employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and transferable credentials.

NAW is responsible for more than 2,000 apprenticeship-focused events attended by more than 200,000 participants across all 50 states since its creation in 2014. NAW has also generated three Presidential proclamations and nearly 300 proclamations from governors, mayors, state senators, and numerous industry and labor unions to affirm their commitment to apprenticeship. Events and activities have included apprenticeship program open houses for career seekers, skills competitions, community forums, apprentice graduations, business open houses, high school and college career fairs, apprenticeship signing days, industry roundtable events, and more.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. To learn more about apprenticeships, visit the Department of Labor’s one-stop source for all things apprenticeship, www.apprenticeship.gov.

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region