ECC Apprentices profiled by St. Louis PBS Station
A pair of students in ECC’s apprenticeship programs are being recognized by the Nine Network (Channel 9 – PBS). The station’s digital media franchise,“American Graduate”, highlights the workplace landscape, and looks at well-paying, in-demand jobs and resources available in the St. Louis region.
is working to complete a Certificate of Specialization in Precision Machining.
Christopher Kallmbah, a plumber/welder at Clemco in Washington, is an AEL graduate (high school equivalency),
and also completed the Introduction to MIG Welding program through the ECC Center for Workforce Development.
He is currently enrolled in a 48 week Welding apprenticeship.
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.
ECC teaches apprenticeship program on-site at Aerofil Technologies
East Central College instructors are currently delivering training to Aerofil employees in manufacturing maintenance and logistics at the Aerofil facility. It’s being made possible through a U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship grant – tasking institutions to design programs to help close the skills gap in their area.
“Our country faces a chronic shortage of skilled laborers,” said HBM Holdings CEO Mike DeCola. The company recently acquired Aerofil. “We have to close that gap. As employers, it is our responsibility to train our workers, and no one is training employees better than Aerofil and East Central College.”
More than 100 registered apprenticeships are being created through the partnership, and it’s getting noticed at the national level.
“Not only is East Central College a leader in Missouri, but no other community college in the United States provides more registered apprenticeships than they do,” said Neil Perry, Missouri State Director of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Missouri now ranks third in the country in registered apprenticeships. “Community colleges like East Central College are a big part of the reason why,” said Perry.
After completion of an apprenticeship, Aerofil employees will receive a Certificate of Specialization in Industrial Maintenance Technology and will receive industry credentials. “East Central College figured out how to make this partnership work,” said Dunaway. “So far, it has been fantastic.”
East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) launched the program with Aerofil in April 2017. In addition to 31 credit hours, the program also consists of 3,900 hours of structured, on-the-job training. CWD spent nearly two years researching and designing the apprenticeship program before its launch.
“This is a great example of collaboration and innovation,” said Dr. Bauer. “Many departments at East Central College came together to deliver programming that specifically meet the needs of Aerofil.”
It is being fully funded by the DOL grant program and Aerofil at no cost to the student. The funds are paying all costs for industry credentials, program administration, tuition, fees, books, supplies and apprentice wages.
“These types of partnerships don’t happen in a vacuum. They don’t happen overnight. Hard work got us here, and hard work will keep this partnership strong,” said Missouri Director of Workforce Development Mardy Leathers.
The grant program was originally scheduled to expire in April 2018. Due to the success of the program, it has been extended an additional year. “Programs such as this will give more businesses the chance to work with colleges like East Central to train their employees for the future,” explained Leathers.
The event coincided with National Apprenticeship Week – a national celebration that offers leaders in business, labor, education, and other critical partners a chance to express their support for Apprenticeship.