Dabney S. Lancaster Community College has been awarded a $140,000, three-year grant from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to expand its apprenticeship program, it was announced today by Gary Keener, Vice President for DSLCC’s Workforce Solutions and Community Education division. The goal is to train a minimum of 150 apprentices in a variety of trades over the course of the program, which was launched earlier this summer.
“Apprenticeship training is a great way to provide a structured program that includes both related instruction and on-the-job (OJT) training for incumbent workers and potential employees,” notes Keener. DSLCC has been providing apprenticeship programs for almost 30 years, mainly in the areas of millwright, pipefitting, electrical, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The AACC grant will allow DSLCC to expand those offerings to more apprenticeship programs, utilizing educational programs already in place at DSLCC.
The Expanding Community College Apprenticeships (ECCA) initiative, in which DSLCC is participating, is led by the AACC with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase the number of apprenticeship programs and services throughout the country. The ECCA project will be conducted over 3 years and will train 16,000 apprentices. The ECCA initiative is supporting Registered Apprenticeships.
The first year of the grant will include training in five construction or manufacturing trade areas: Electrical; Electrical and Instrumentation (E&I); HVAC; and Industrial Maintenance Mechanic (IMM); the second year will add Plumbing and Welding; and by the third year, Carpentry and Machining will be included.
Apprentices may include newly enrolled students or those already enrolled. Tuition assistance is available to qualifying students through financial aid for credit programs, such as E&I or Welding, and to through FastForward funding for non-credit programs, such as HVAC. FastForward funding is limited and subject to availability.
DSLCC will provide the industry-driven, competency based apprentice training, as well as the instruction for apprentices to complete industry-recognized credentials and/or associate degrees. Job placement support is also part of the package.
Students will likely work for their employer during the day and attend classes in the evening, he said. In many cases, apprentices will complete as much as 8,000 hours in on-the-job training during the apprenticeship. “Another key is having apprentices work under a mentor,” notes Apprenticeship Coach David Shofstahl, who is coordinating the apprenticeship program and getting it off the ground.
The AACC grant will make it much more feasible for small business or industry to participate, he adds. Any employer interested in learning more about the expanded apprenticeship program or participating in it at DSLCC should contact Shofstahl at (540) 863-2920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.