Pellissippi State Community College is making it easier for area businesses to start apprenticeship programs for new and current employees.
Newell Brands, located in Maryville, kicked off a new apprenticeship program this summer, with Pellissippi State as the sponsor. While Pellissippi State has been supporting apprenticeships with area businesses for years, this is the first time the college is sponsoring a program.
“Newell Brands has been a longstanding partner for whom we provide training,” said Todd Evans, director of workforce solutions at Pellissippi State. “This apprenticeship program allows us to continue supporting their long-term goals of having employees with the skills necessary to do their job well.”
Newell Brands’ expansion of its tool room and molding department this year created a need for additional tool and die makers at the company. It became clear to Newell Brands’ leaders that training and promoting current employees within the department was the right move to make to fill those positions.
“This position is one that is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified journeyman workers to fill,” said Aaron Myers, tool room supervisor at Newell Brands. “We decided to partner with Pellissippi State and their new Tool and Die Maker apprenticeship program. We all believe that one of the best ways to cultivate a positive culture is to promote from within.”
An apprenticeship program is a multi-year investment, with the amount of time invested dependent upon occupation, model and whether apprentices receive credit for the education and experience they already have. Apprentices must complete 144 hours of instructional training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year of their apprenticeship, which is the same as apprentices working full time for their employer, year-round.
Newell Brands had two employees start the apprenticeship program this summer, Seth Hartley and Kyle Sanchez. They will receive their Journeyman Tool and Die Maker certifications upon successful completion of their apprenticeships.
Pellissippi State’s role and involvement as the apprenticeship sponsor can vary program to program, but includes working with the employer to provide administrative support and documentation with the U.S. Department of Labor, organizing the educational component and curriculum of the apprenticeship and providing training for mentors.
“I think there is a growing recognition that training a modern workforce requires flexibility, and apprenticeship models allow for that,” Evans noted. “It’s the part we are most excited about.”
Training can include a combination of online and in-person classes, allowing the apprentices the flexibility to learn on their own time. Most of the educational training for Newell Brands’ apprentices will be delivered online. Portions of the training also can apply toward an associate degree if the apprentice is interested in pursuing one.
“Pellissippi State has developed a streamlined class structure ensuring classes are to the point and have value in the information they provide,” Myers said. “Under the new program, we have the ability to tailor the curriculum by removing or adding any classes that we feel would benefit students during their apprenticeship program.”
Info about starting an apprenticeship program: Todd Evans at email@example.com or call 865.539.7167.
Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.