Gov. Bobby Jindal has proclaimed November as Registered Apprenticeship month, spotlighting programs that provide on-the-job training in skilled professions needed in Louisiana’s growing economy.
The Louisiana proclamation, together with the designation of Nov. 2-8 as National Apprenticeship week by the U.S. Department of Labor, present opportunities for business and industry, education, community-based organizations, students and workers to learn more about the advantages of developing careers through the apprenticeship model.
Registered apprenticeship programs offer employment and a combination of on-the-job learning and technical and theoretical instruction through a training provider. Along with partnership among employers, employees, associations, government, and technical colleges, some advantages of registered apprenticeship include bringing unskilled, skilled or semiskilled workers to the fully skilled level, and actual employment for apprentices. Registered apprenticeships are beneficial for a wide variety of occupations that require extra skills to master. With at least 2,000 hours per year of structured on-the-job experience supervised by an experienced professional, registered apprenticeships also involve a minimum of 144 hours classroom instruction per year and generally take 2 to 5 years to complete.
Louisiana currently has 3,800 registered apprentices, primarily in construction, manufacturing and service industries. Since 2010, more than 2,200 registered apprentices have completed graduation.
Baton Rouge native Todd Stafford, age 51, experienced firsthand the effects of registered apprenticeship. His father, Wayne A. Stafford, completed an apprenticeship in 1958 and was a lifelong iron worker, giving Todd exposure to construction trades as he grew up.
Todd became a registered electrical apprentice, graduating in 1986 at the top of his class in the Baton Rouge Area Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee class, hosted by the Baton Rouge National Electrical Contractors Association. Quickly recruited to become an instructor to teach new apprentices, Todd continued working as a journeyman inside wireman and earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from LSU. Today, he is the executive director of the IBEW-NECA electrical training alliance, working with apprenticeship programs across the country to assist in curriculum development, selection procedures, standards and the delivery of training.
“Apprenticeship was a perfect pathway to learn skills within a building trade that created a base for all my subsequent employment opportunities,” Todd Stafford reflects. “Apprenticeship provided and re-enforced self-discipline, commitment, accomplishment, fraternal membership – all in addition to the job skills and knowledge that education and training provides. The apprenticeship model I participated in allowed for the training and education to be accomplished at no cost to me, a benefit that is not matched by other educational offerings.”
Through apprenticeship, employers gain skilled workers such as Stafford who are trained to the employer’s specifications. This quality-based, on-the-job training results in a stream of knowledgeable and productive employees, mitigating retention and turnover issues.
For job seekers, registered apprenticeship holds the opportunity to obtain full-time employment in professions that offer future wage growth. The commitment from participating employers assures training will meet standards of both the employer and the industry, and can lead to nationally recognized certification or credentialing.
To learn more about registered apprenticeship, contact the LWC’s Apprenticeship Division at 225-342-7820 or click here.
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