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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Austin HornbostelMoniteau County Regional Economic Development president Mike Kelley was on hand at Cargill last week to present Cargill employee Jacob Medrano with an Apprenticeship Program Completion Certificate. Pictured here from left to right are Eric Timmons, Cris Lemus, Medrano and Kelley.

Jacob Medrano, who's been with Cargill for a number of years, recently finished up his apprenticeship work and was awarded with a promotion to industrial maintenance supervisor.

Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council president Mike Kelley was on hand last week at Cargill to present Medrano with his Apprenticeship Program Completion Certificate.

Kelley, who serves as MRED's president, said the program was a result of a community meeting with area businesses around three years ago, during which the group addressed some of the issues those employers had seen with finding and keeping employees. The decision was made to start an apprenticeship program, with participant education partially funded by their employer and MRED.

"This allows (the company) to get somebody that's a good employee," Kelley said. "(Medrano) was already working here; they were able to train him into a position they eventually wanted him in, and now, he's recently been promoted to supervisor."

Cris Lemus, Engineering and Maintenance Manager at Cargill, said while the program isn't for everyone, he thinks it's been great for Medrano's development and knowledge base as he moves up in positions. From a personal development standpoint, Lemus said he thinks that educational background will be a great benefit.

Cargill supervisor Eric Timmons said throughout Medrano's apprenticeship journey, he was able to see him pass along the knowledge he was gaining to everyone he worked with, both while working as Medrano's supervisor and while working during the same shift as Medrano moved up the ladder.

Medrano, during his time in the program, said he learned good techniques to troubleshoot problems that he typically sees on the job. He said now that all's said and done, he's glad for the experience.

"It felt pretty great being able to actually go to school, but also being employed in the field you're wanting to be in is a pretty priceless experience," Medrano said.

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