MCCTC’s Adult Apprenticeship Program Upskills Current Employee Talent
by Dom Fonce
September 25, 2023
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, unfilled jobs nearly double the number of available workers. Industries may be able to tackle this employee shortage crisis by making their current employees more qualified, more adaptable, and more skilled. An apprenticeship program, like the one MCCTC offers, is a great way to make talented employees even more talented. MCCTC Employment and Training Coordinator, Jim Jarvis, says about the apprenticeship program, “It’s a service to the manufacturing industry…there’s no fluff in this curriculum. Tell us what you need, and we’ll train them.” He also says that the apprenticeship program is a fantastic investment in loyal employees and, after the training they will receive, these employees will be even more valuable to companies.
MCCTC’s Adult Career Center is currently offering placement in a variety of 4-year apprenticeship programs, across multiple industries, and with a wide array of highly-skilled instructors. MCCTC’s apprenticeship programs are specialized to a company’s needs, with a custom-fit curriculum that builds company-specific skills. At the end of the apprenticeship program, employees can reach journeyman or professional status in their fields. Companies can receive funding through ApprenticeOhio’s Incentive Grant. State-funded apprenticeship programs may have competency or hour-based curriculums, which may alter the length of the program—a competency-based curriculum, for example, may result in a shorter program.
Howmet Aerospace is working with MCCTC to finalize the second-year curriculum for students in the apprenticeship program, who started in 2022. Howmet Aerospace Labor Relations Manager, Guy Pietra, says about the apprenticeship programs at MCCTC, “It’s a definite investment. We want to partner with folks who get good, trained workers out there.” He goes on to say, “Howmet wants to continue developing a partnership with MCCTC because we don’t have 300 qualified people applying for positions anymore. Right now, they aren’t out there.”
Jarvis says, “You can never have enough skilled workers who know how to run a machine, run a lathe, run a mill, create a blueprint or layout, do sheet metal, welding, electrical, or carpentry work.” Additionally, he makes it clear that the more skilled people in a shop, the more kinds of jobs a company can bid on. He emphasizes that MCCTC can custom tailor to an employer’s needs.
MCCTC has ran, or is currently running, electrical, machining, welding, and maintenance apprenticeship programs. Adult Career Center Supervisor, Mary Mihalopoulos, says, “These partnerships are great because the employees are able to work while learning…it’s not always possible to train employees on the job, so we give them the opportunity to gain new skills as they continue their work hours.” She notes that MCCTC apprenticeship programs can include union or non-union employees and can go beyond manufacturing industries into healthcare or service jobs. The largest incentive for employees to push for apprenticeships is an upscale in wages, Mihalopoulos says. From the employer’s perspective, electing employees to an apprenticeship program can also help build company morale, confidence, and a sense of advancement.
Jarvis’s ultimate message to employers is to get their employees more skilled, especially if funding is available. He says to employers, “If you have an employee with great potential, why not place them in a program where they can learn more specialized skills?” If MCCTC’s apprenticeship program interests you, contact Jim Jarvis at 330-729-4100.
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Dom Fonce is a Marketing Content Writer for Mahoning County Career and Technical Center Adult Career Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Youngstown State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the NEOMFA. He has published two books of poetry. His work can be found at domfoncepoetry.com.