Apprenticeship in Maine

Posted by John Griffin - On May 16, 2011 (EST)

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NEW APPROACHES SLATED FOR THE MAINE APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

 

While Maine’s apprenticeship program is small in comparison to other states (1,696 registered apprentices), it continues to be valued by employers in both traditional and emerging industries. The majority of Maine businesses are very small (less than 10 employees); a fact making it very difficult to market the value to prospective sponsors. However, Maine is taking steps to address this by engaging and partnering with industry associations that can communicate directly with their industry members on behalf of apprenticeship. Similarly, Maine experiences issues with matching individuals who are interested in pursuing apprenticeship with employers who wish to recruit apprentices.

 

Maine’s Apprenticeship Action Team has been working to address these challenges by:

?         Encouraging employers to list their apprenticeship opportunities on Maine’s Job Bank

?         Working to establish a new venue for adult dislocated workers to enter apprenticeship through an Adult Pre-Apprenticeship preparatory program.

 

The “Pre-App-Prep” program would be based loosely on the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Multi-Craft Core Curriculum, but would be specific to the particular industry that is recruiting apprentices. The program would be a first step in integrating Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Apprenticeship in Maine. The Pre-App-Prep program would recruit eligible participants from Maine CareerCenters and use workforce investment funds to pay the cost of the program for each individual. An up-front agreement with industry members hiring for specific occupations would be necessary in initiating a Pre-App-Prep program.

 

The parameters of the program would be as follows:

  • Engage group of employer/sponsors who are actively recruiting for a specific trade to help define and endorse the program and enter into agreement to hire a specific number of successful completers. This has been discussed and well received by several Maine industry associations.
  • Provide a thorough assessment to prospective trainees that would including assessment of occupational aptitudes and interests, work preferences, academic and physical capabilities and other applicant attributes critical to success in a particular trade/occupation or industry.
  • Introduction to Apprenticeship (Parameters, Requirements, Benefits, Term, etc.).
  • Introduction to Industry
  • Safety Training (OSHA, CPR, First Aid, Other)
  • A Work Ready component for those who requiring employment competency assistance
  • Specific entry level trade skills courses
  • Overview of the technology of the trade (tools, equipment, computers etc.)

 

The program would culminate in an industry approved certificate and would meet a first step of entry into apprenticeship. At this point, the trainees would be hired and begin their formal apprenticeship.

 

The WIA cost per participant could range from $1,500 to $2,500, depending on the trade and the partners offering the training. Maine anticipates using the MDOL SafetyWorks! program and industry volunteers for some components. Assessment would be conducted by the CareerCenters. Academic refreshers (in math or science for example) would be provided by Adult Education and specific industry courses would be provided by the union, a community college or other approved training provider. Some apprentices may continue to receive WIA-funded support and/or case management services during their transition to employment/registered apprenticeship.

 

The Pre-App-Prep program would:

?         Provide CareerCenter staff with a venue to refer clients interested in apprenticeship

?         Result in significant savings in “occupational training” costs for the workforce investment system

?         Result in WIA required performance measures and significant savings to employer/sponsors in recruitment, retention, and up-front training costs associated with new hires.

 

Maine recently received a Health Care Sector Grant from the USDOL-ETA. A component of the grant is the development of apprenticeship programs for this industry. Maine has strict licensing requirements for most of the Health Care occupations covered by the grant – specifically nursing, which makes it difficult to apprentice for these occupations. Alternately, Certified Nursing Assistants can be trained and licensed in Maine in 400 hours. The Health Care sector in Maine has expressed a real interest in apprenticeship, as most of the skill sets required in the nursing fields are acquired after graduation from programs.

 

Four groups of grant stakeholders (education, industry, workforce, apprenticeship) are working to develop new apprenticeship programs for the industry. One will be a Pre-App-Prep program that will launch an individual on a career path and that will begin with C.N.A. certification. In addition, it will provide ongoing education that will allow a C.N.A. to advance as a C.N.A. II or go into other allied health occupations within their employer setting.

 

Partners from the University of Maine in Augusta, Maine General Health (MGH, an umbrella including numerous hospitals and long-term care providers) and the Maine Apprenticeship Program will be working to develop an Associate to Bachelor Degree Nurse Residency Apprenticeship. While still in early stages, this apprenticeship program intends to address a number of issues:

a)      Assist MGH to move Associate level nurses to the Bachelor level in order to meet their goal of moving from 20% BSN level staff to 80% BSN level staff in ten years.

b)      Help to launch an ongoing industry/education partnership for improved clinical training between MGH and the University of Maine at Augusta (the first cohort of students would be primarily apprentices in the ADN-BSN nurse residency at MGH.)

c)      Help to launch shared clinical instructor staff, relieving a bottleneck in clinical instruction facing Maine nursing schools.

d)     Provide specific on-the-job learning for nurse specialties for ADN nurses while they take related instruction toward Bachelor degree.

e)      Provide specific in-house training for nurse apprentices.

f)       Allow nurses to earn university college credit for their on-the-job learning hours.

g)      Establish a first RN-level apprenticeship program that can be presented to USDOL-OA for national recognition.

h)      Establish a first articulation agreement for college credit at the university level (Maine currently has an agreement with all Maine Community Colleges that allows apprentices to earn up to six college credits per year for the on-the-job learning component of apprentices who have matriculated into the Trades and Technology Occupations degree program.)

 

Maine’s Apprenticeship Program can provide tuition cost assistance once the grant closes, making the Nurse Residency Apprenticeship a sustainable outcome of the grant.

 

The above two initiatives are just a few of the new directions the Maine Apprenticeship Program is working toward and will be pleased to provide an update once these projects are successfully launched.

 

Ginny Carroll

Director Apprenticeship & Strategic Partnerships

55 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333-0055

(207) 623-7974 Ginny.Carroll@maine.gov

Submitted by John Griffin

jgriffbat@aol.com




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Modified On : May 19, 2011
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