LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts last week highlighted the vocational training offered by Nebraska’s new Registered Apprenticeship programs. Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs throughout Nebraska are helping to grow Nebraska companies and train the state’s workforce to fill high-demand positions.
“Dozens of Nebraska companies have high-quality jobs with good pay and benefits that are waiting to be filled,” said Governor Ricketts. “The ‘earn while you learn’ model utilized by Registered Apprenticeships benefits both people who are looking for good jobs, and employers who are looking to close skill gaps.”
The Nebraska Department of Labor (DOL) is collaborating with businesses, educational institutions, and the US Department of Labor (USDOL) to develop new RA programs across a variety of industries. Apprentices who complete a program receive a nationally-recognized certification from the USDOL.
The Nebraska Department of Labor received a $200,000 ApprenticeshipUSA grant from the USDOL to expand RA opportunities. Between October 2016 and October 2017, the number of employers sponsoring RAs increased by 17 percent. The RA initiative has established four new programs since October of 2017, including three in manufacturing and one at a call center.
Quad Packaging in Omaha started a Registered Apprenticeship program late last year and has been impressed with the work ethic of the apprentices. Production Support Manager Gus Gubalke said the apprentices “have an attitude that they want to go above and beyond.”
Bellevue University now serves as an intermediary for front line supervisor and office manager RAs. North End Teleservices became the first employer to sign a participation agreement and will be utilizing the program to upskill their incumbent employees. Students completing this program will receive certification from USDOL and a separate certificate from Bellevue University.
Grand Island Public Schools’ Career Pathways Institute partnered with Dramco Tool to form a Youth RA program to train CNC operators beginning in high school. Two other Nebraska high schools are in the process of creating Youth RA program opportunities for students participating in their Career Academies.
RA programs in manufacturing, healthcare and telecommunications are being developed. Each RA program is tailored to meet the needs of the sponsoring employer and provide the best possible education and training to the apprentices. Programs must meet standards established by the USDOL in order to be certified RAs.
“Not only do Registered Apprentices get the opportunity to increase their skills, but those increased skills also translate into higher wages, and in some cases, credit toward a postsecondary degree,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin.
Depending on the occupation, an apprentice spends 2,000 hours per year on the job to complete a given program. Employers have flexibility in determining how this time is spent, but must meet USDOL standards. In addition to the on-the-job training, RA programs also provide related instruction to participants via the internet, the classroom, or other methods.
Companies interested in starting a RA program may contact Scott Asmus at 402-471-9928. Job seekers interested in participating in a RA should contact their local Nebraska Department of Labor office. More information is also available on the Department’s YouTube channel and at http://dol.nebraska.gov.