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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, November 23, 2018

Chamber and Chattanooga St. expand apprenticeship program




From left: Heidi King, Hamilton County Schools; Dr. Rebecca Ashford, Chattanooga State; Molly Blankenship, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce; Bo Drake and Dr. Jim Barrott, Chattanooga State; and Michael Stumpff, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. - Photograph provided

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Chattanooga State Community College announce a partnership to work with business, industry and other educational partners to grow apprenticeship programs in their service areas.

“The ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeship model shows that nine out of 10 apprentices are employed after completing their apprenticeship with an average salary of $60,000 per year,” says Chattanooga State President Dr. Rebecca Ashford. “Not only that, but workers who complete apprenticeship programs earn $300,000 more over a career than peers who don’t.”

Chattanooga State’s Economic and Workforce Development Vice President Bo Drake says “there are more than 1,000 occupations that can be apprenticed, and we intend to expand these programs into other high demand, high wage fields.”

Drake adds that the Industrial Maintenance program through the Tennessee College of Applied Technology would be Chattanooga State’s “first college-sponsored, registered, non-union apprenticeship program” beginning next fall (pending Department of Labor approval).

“Graduates from Industrial Maintenance are skilled in mechanical and electrical maintenance, motor and sensor control, and programmable controls,” says Jim Barrott, executive vice president of Chattanooga State’s TCAT.

Program graduates earn a FANUC robot industry certification and can expect a starting salary of $18 to $25 an hour, Barrott adds. The program boasts a 100 percent job placement rate.

Molly Blankenship, vice president of talent initiatives for the Chattanooga Chamber, encourages local businesses and industries to work alongside the Chamber and Chattanooga State to grow apprenticeship programs in the community.

Blankenship is inviting prospective students and companies to learn more at chattanoogastate.edu/apprenticeships.

Source: Chattanooga Chamber