Following meetings over the last several months with businesses about their workforce needs, a decision was made by Mike Kelley, president/CEO of the Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council (MRED). This decision was made to try and combat a problem most businesses have, not being able to find the right employee for the jobs they have open. And then, there is a problem holding onto the employees who are right for those jobs.
"To combat that, MRED decided to be proactive in its approach to this and bring the Missouri Apprenticeship Program to Moniteau County," Kelley said. "Through this program, businesses can employ someone 16 years of age or older and place them into a registered apprenticeship program. They are paid for their work but must complete 144 hours of related curriculum in order to complete the apprenticeship. MRED hosted the second meeting regarding this program on Jan. 9."
Kelley reported there were 16 people, representing several Moniteau County businesses, in attendance for this meeting. At the meeting, the decision was made for MRED to serve as the umbrella organization for apprenticeships in the county, in order for the organization to seek out some of the monies available to help fund the training side of the apprenticeship program. The group met at the California City Hall meeting room.
Kelley went on to explain the program.
"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," he said. "In addition to rewarding performance, registered apprenticeship combines employer-driven, job-related instruction with extensive on-the-job learning under the supervision of a trade professional. After completing a registered apprenticeship, the apprentice receives a nationally-recognized occupational credential that communicates the standards and high level of training that their employer provides."
There are five core components of a registered apprenticeship program:
Direct Employer Involvement: Employers are the foundation of every apprenticeship program and the skills needed by their workforce are at the core.
Structured On-the-Job Training: Every apprenticeship program includes structured on the-job-training from an experienced mentor.
Related Instruction: Apprentices receive related instruction on the technical and academic competencies that apply to the job.
Rewards for Skills Gains: Apprentices receive progressive wage increases as their skills and knowledge increase.
National Occupational Credential: Every graduate of a registered apprenticeship program receives a nationally-recognized credential.
Several present at the meeting who offered presentations were: Mike Smith, apprenticeship and training representative for the U.S. Department of Labor; Alex Stanley, field operations manager for the Central Workforce Investment Board; Jeanna Caldwell, apprenticeship coordinator for the Missouri Division of Workforce Development; and Suzzane Richards, apprenticeship training and development specialist for the Missouri Apprenticeship Program.