Friday, 01 June 2018 17:16

Technical Centers Start Registered Apprentice Program in MO

Written by Amy Wilson, Lake News Online
Technical Centers Start Registered Apprentice Program in MO Lake News Online file photo


Just as there is an identified skills gap across America, workforce development has been identified by community leaders as a key component to economic development at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

In the last couple of years, the Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council (LOREDC) has been working more closely with local schools to begin closing the skills gap in the tri-county region. With support from LOREDC and local businesses and groups, Camdenton and Eldon technical schools were able to get a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and Missouri Department of Economic Development to launch a registered apprenticeship program, following in the footsteps of School of the Osage, which started this program last year.

Registered apprenticeship is a flexible “earn while you learn” training model supported by the MDED’s Division of Workforce Development through the U.S. Department of Labor. The MDED describes the program as a combination of employer-driven, job-related instruction with extensive on-the-job learning under the supervision of a trade professional.

The grant application focused on construction, information technology and transportation, meaning anything related to marine and automotive repair, collision repair and advanced manufacturing such as metal fabrication and machining, according to Lake Career & Technical Center Director Jacqueline Jenkins. She worked with Kelli Engelbrecht of the Eldon Career Center to obtain the grant, which will cover the cost of one program coordinator who will work with students, the technical schools and the business community.

“These are manual labor positions, but they are very wage-sustaining positions,” Jenkins said. “I always tell individuals who talk about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math], ‘I love STEM, but you know, if I hear a clank in my car, I’m not going to an engineer. I’m going to my auto tech.’ And you can make darn good money doing that. I love career tech education because I see what it does for kids.”

Jenkins cited a former student making $34 per hour in what would be considered a trade.

“There’s almost a stigma with a trade program now that there’s no money. No, you can make money. It’s just physical labor in some cases,” she said.

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