Missouri State University-West Plains hosted a signing event Monday for five students in the first cohort of the Industrial Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship program at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) in West Plains.
A project two years in the making, this marks Missouri State-West Plains’ first venture into U.S. Department of Labor certified registered apprenticeships.
Funded through a Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Grant from the Missouri Economic Development Division of Workforce Development, it brings together a coalition consisting of Missouri State-West Plains, GOCAT, the South Central Workforce Investment Board (SCWIB), the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Program, the U.S. Department of Labor, and four local businesses.
“This initial offering of apprenticeships by Missouri State-West Plains through our GOCAT initiative is an important step in the evolution of our workforce development program here at the University and in our region,” said Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs at Missouri State-West Plains.
“While this is a new idea for us, the use of apprenticeships to develop highly skilled workers is definitely not a new idea in Europe, where this is the norm and not the exception. Our venture into this specialized student-worker training brings all of our partners even closer as we strive to meet the worker and skills-development demands of our area,” he added
The apprentices will be seeking the 24-credit hour Industrial Maintenance Technician certificate and will complete their training in September.
A two-year program
The overall Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship is a layered two-year program that consists of related academic instruction and on-the-job training with mentors at each of the designated companies. The apprentices will be trained in various areas of maintenance and required to meet competencies in order to gain credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“A registered apprenticeship is an earn-and-learn program where a student is employed by a company and earning a paycheck throughout their educational and on the job training. At the end of the apprenticeship, they will receive college credit and an industry issued, nationally recognized credential,” said Sheila Barton, Missouri State-West Plains project manager at GOCAT.
“As an educational institution, empowering our students to enhance their skills and develop careers is what we do,” she added. “Being the educational component of an apprenticeship provides a perfect partnership for training the current workers who need technology-focused skills as industries become more automated.”
All candidates were selected through a pre-screening and interview process by the participating companies:
- Jasper Engines and Transmissions, sponsoring Zach Gregory, Bucyrus, and Harley Curtis, Birch Tree
- Leonardo-DRS, sponsoring Dustin Howell, Thayer
- Regal Beloit, sponsoring Mason Mitchell, Thayer
- Timberland Forest Products, sponsoring McKenzie Propst, West Plains
The partnering companies will provide the work experience to ensure professional skills while Missouri State-West Plains provides classroom training.
The eight-week blocks of coursework over a period of one year, in conjunction with on-the-job training to refine the skills they have acquired, will earn a guaranteed starting pay up to $13.00 with incremental increases as they meet specific milestones throughout the apprenticeship.
For information contact Barton at 417-255-7784 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Roy Crouch, Missouri State-West Plains education/outreach specialist at GOCAT, at 417-255-7785.