The Community Foundation Creates New Skilled Trade Apprenticeships

It's a well documented fact that there's a shortage of people trained in skilled trades. The need for trained machinists, welders, plumbers, mechanics and electricians is so dire here in Michigan that Governor Snyder initiated the Marshall Plan for Talent earlier this year. But the Community Foundation in Lansing now offers a local solution that will help the Capital area address our skilled trade shortage, while offering exciting opportunities to people entering the Lansing job market.

So how do they plan to meet the growing need for trained tradesmen-and-women? By partnering with local businesses who are struggling with talent shortages in the skilled trades, and offering apprenticeships to college students looking to gain real-world job experience. As Lisa Biering, Director of Marketing and Communication at the Community Foundation says, "Workforce development is one of our three priority areas, and we started our apprenticeship program to help local businesses grow their own talent and fill shortages."

And the first area business signed on for this pilot program is Niowave, a world-wide leader in the research, development, manufacture and operation of superconducting electron linear accelerators. "They're a great pilot partner because of their niche industry." Biering explains. "It’s an organization that has a specific workforce need, and will benefit from our program tailored to develop talent for that need. Above all, Niowave is a local company, and we want to see it succeed and stay in our region."

What makes the Community Foundation program unique, is that it provides both education and employment to high-wage and high-demand jobs. Apprentices in the program benefit from formal skilled trades education at Lansing Community College, along with part-time employment and on-the-job training. Once they graduate with an associates degree, they would be guaranteed a full time position with the business where they trained. Along the way, the Community Foundation would cover the cost of their tuition, fees, and books.

In the future, the Community Foundation hopes to partner with other area businesses to offer apprenticeships in many types of skilled trades. According to Biering, "LCC has many skilled trades programs that we hope to pair with similar apprenticeships in the future. In fact, we're currently looking for other partners to start new apprenticeship programs with, tailored to their workforce needs in the skilled trades. This would include welders, machinists, multi-skilled technicians, manufacturing engineers, and many more."

Anyone interested in applying for the mechatronics apprenticeship at Niowave can send their resumes and cover letters to Amanda Grimm at amanda@niowaveinc.com.
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