Business leaders and community members were welcomed into the East Central College Business and Industry Center on Friday, November 16 for a National Apprenticeship Week Celebration.
The event featured two keynote speakers – Wade Johnson, U.S. Department of Labor, and Mardy Leathers, Missouri Department of Workforce Development.
“Missouri is dedicated to investing, expanding and sustaining apprenticeships in the state,” said Leathers. “Educational institutions like East Central College are going to help lead the way forward.”
Those in attendance at the event were also able to hear directly from a panel of local businesses and employees who are currently participating in an apprenticeship program.
“I’m getting something tangible from the apprenticeship program through East Central College,” said apprentice Neil Chapman. He works as a quality technician at Homeyer Precision Machining in Marthasville. “I’m allowed to learn in a classroom environment where I can learn from my mistakes and grow as a professional.”
“We have four apprentices right now,” said Lou Ann Feldman, Clemco Vice President of Manufacturing, “and they are very diverse. Only one had any welding experience before entering the program.”
While East Central College provides many registered apprenticeships to area manufacturers, the program can be applied to all industries. Significant talent shortages and skills gaps can limit the ability of a business to expand, innovate and excel. Apprenticeships can help close that gap.
“There is currently a funding opportunity for apprenticeships,” said Joel Doepker, East Central College Vice President of External Relations . “East Central College can help area businesses create successful credit or non-credit programs on any scale and for any industry.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 150,000 employers and labor management organizations benefit from apprenticeships every year. Workers who complete apprenticeship programs earn $300,000 more over a career than their peers who don’t.