Ozarks Technical Community College, in collaboration with local business and industry members, community partners, and regional workforce development agencies, will receive a $186,780 grant from the Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Grant Program. Funds will be used to expand and develop Registered Apprenticeship programs across southwest Missouri.
Through the grant, OTC will establish 12 new or expanded Registered Apprenticeship programs and serve 80 apprentices by June 2019. OTC’s Registered Apprenticeship programs will focus on serving unemployed and underserved individuals as well as employees or students with a desire to improve their skills. For example, Abilities First Employment Services will receive a portion of the grant funds to provide training to individuals with disabilities. By the completion of the grant period, Abilities First will train 30 individuals as Registered Apprentices in materials handling.
Registered Apprenticeship programs combine structured learning with on-the-job training under the supervision of a trade professional. The training is tailored to meet the specific needs of the employer. Upon completion, apprentices receive a nationally-recognized credential that can be listed on a resume to showcase the skills they have earned. Apprentices also receive higher wages. Employers typically set wage increases every 6-12 months as certain milestones are met by the apprentice.
From an employer perspective, apprenticeships pay dividends for companies who use the program. Employers who utilize apprentices report higher productivity, higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment. OTC’s current Registered Apprenticeship partners include Masters Plumbing, Positronic Industries Inc., Southern Missouri Containers, Tsay Professional Services, Inc., Tuthill Vacuum & Blower Systems and Springfield ReManufacturing Corp.
In January 2017, OTC received a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant program. That grant, established in partnership with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, allowed the college to hire a full-time apprenticeship specialist. That position, filled by Sara Coatney, will serve as the project manager for the new Registered Apprenticeships established through the grant.