Computer technology, health care, construction and high-skill manufacturing account for nearly 54 percent of the American labor market, according to the National Skills Coalition. Unfortunately, only 44 percent of workers are sufficiently trained for those high-demand jobs.

East Central College is trying to buck that trend. Thanks to an $87,000 grant from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, the college will soon build an apprenticeship program.

“We know employers in the area are faced with a skills gap,” said Mardy Leathers, Workforce Development executive director. “We want to provide both the academic education needed for the workforce and the hands-on skills to land a job in their companies.”

Statewide, there are nearly 6,500 manufacturing facilities that need highly skilled workers.

“Franklin County has more than four times the manufacturing establishments than any other county in our service region,” said Jeremy Goss, Workforce Development coordinator of business development and training. “They make up near 25 percent of all jobs in the area, higher than any other category.”

In partnership with local industry, two registered apprenticeship programs will be offered by East Central: precision machinist and industrial maintenance technician.

“These are two or three-year programs,” said Leathers. “Students enrolled in the program will get 4,000 – 6,000 structured on-the-job training hours, 33 college credit hours, industry recognized credentials and pay increases based on academic progress. All of this results in a Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Certificate along with industry certifications and academic credit – each poised to create a dynamic and high performing employee in the advanced manufacturing sector.”

The mission of the Center for Workforce Development is to establish and promote economic opportunities that lead to a comprehensive workforce system in the ECC Service Region (Franklin, Warren, Gasconade, Maries, Crawford, Dent, Osage and Phelps Counties).

Businesses or students interested in the program should contact Jeremy Goss via email or call 636-649-5806.





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