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Apprenticeship program expands to Kentucky

A national apprentice program is helping Kentucky manufacturers tackle their workforce needs through registered apprenticeship programs.

Based in Huntington, W.Va., the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) launched its Apprenticeship Works initiative in 2016, with support from a U.S. Department of Labor grant. Since then, the apprenticeship initiative has grown steadily as manufacturers across the U.S. have recognized the benefits of an apprenticeship program in resolving their training needs.

Kentucky’s apprenticeship office approved the Apprenticeship Works’ standards this fall. The approval means that Apprenticeship Works can work directly with manufacturers to establish and manage their apprenticeship programs, making apprenticeship more accessible and affordable.

The RCBI program also operates in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The first Kentucky company to partner with Apprenticeship Works is Hydraulic Services and Supply in Ashland, which is launching an apprenticeship to train programmers of its CNC (computer-numerically controlled) machines.

Nearly 300 employees at 17 companies are taking part in apprenticeship training established in partnership with Apprenticeship Works. These programs are in high-skilled, high-wage occupations such as tool and die maker, CNC programmer, mechatronics technician, quality inspection as well as many other in-demand fields.

“We are proud that Apprenticeship Works is helping manufacturers across the country tackle their workforce needs,” said Charlotte Weber, director and CEO of RCBI. “Apprenticeship has the potential to narrow the nation’s skills gap.”

Manufacturers develop apprenticeship training programs through Apprenticeship Works as a way to improve the skills of their current workers, as well as new hires, said Lucinda Curry, workforce director at RCBI.

For more information about Apprenticeship Works, go to www.rcbi.org/online/apprenticeships.