Labor shortage fuels interest in apprenticeships and alternative education
Labor, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, remains an ongoing problem for businesses. In the face of labor shortages, businesses are getting creative to attract and retain employees.
According to industry experts, many job seekers want more than just a paycheck, but instead seek careers that offer stable professional skills.
As such, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and alternative education options have surged in popularity among employees and employers.
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Holly Peoples, Business Director of Upper Peninsula Michigan Works, said: service.
“That is why we have been providing these tools for many years. From before the pandemic, especially during the pandemic, and especially now, more and more companies are working with us on our programs. doing.”
Apprenticeships have existed for a long time, but were primarily for professions such as electricians, carpenters, and plumbers. Over the last few years, the range of occupations offering apprenticeships has expanded.
Northwest Michigan works! has been helping employers and apprentices pair up since 2008, but didn’t have a dedicated apprenticeship team until five years ago. Today, they help develop 39 apprenticeship programs through a variety of employers in a variety of professions, from beekeepers to winemakers to medical assistants.
Rob Dickinson, regional director of business services at Northwest, said, “Employers are looking for qualifications and know they don’t always have a four-year degree, so current job seekers are looking for I think we are more knowledgeable than ever,” he said. Michigan Works!
“College was the ultimate goal for many, so we are breaking that tradition across the United States. I think they’re looking for these opportunities because they know it’s cheap and they get this skill set, they prove they have that skill set and put it on their resume, You can turn your resume into a future employer.”
Apprenticeships can last anywhere from 1 to 5 years, but one of the biggest draws is being paid while you learn. In many cases, your employer will pay for the courses you need to take. Our investment in our employees has significantly improved our retention rate.
Workers who start out as apprentices are more likely to stay with the company for the long term, with opportunities for pay raises and promotions.
Companies like Great Lakes Energy accept apprentices to train as line workers to service power lines.
“For us, training is very important to the success of our business. In recent years, the Michigan labor market has proven difficult to attract qualified staff, including utility line workers.” said Charity Gee, Human Resources Manager at Great Lakes Energy.
“So the apprenticeship program really supports the hiring and promotion of unqualified employees who have great potential. So it’s definitely a mutual benefit.”
On average, Great Lakes Energy has 8-10 apprentices per year. Each has about three and a half years of training and a total of 7,000 hours of work. He completes a two-year program at his college community in order to understand electrical theory before starting his apprenticeship, but this is not required.
The company also works closely with high schools in Michigan to attract non-college-bound students to the industry.
“We hear from employers that have apprenticeship programs that they believe they are more competitive. All things being equal, people tend to go where there is an apprenticeship program,” said Peoples.
“Part of that is because of the amount of training you get in the apprenticeship program, but also the regular pay raises you can expect during your apprenticeship. You can take it anywhere in the country so you can prove you are qualified for the job, so I think there are a lot of good reasons for companies and people looking for opportunities to take advantage of apprenticeships.”
For those who can’t afford to go to college or don’t want to borrow money for their education, the expansion of apprenticeships and alternative education is opening up job options.
In February, North Central Michigan College announced a new expedited healthcare program that allows students to earn three professional certifications in five months.
After the initial success of the program, the university has developed Electronic Health Record Specialists, Medical Assistants, Patient Care Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomy Technicians, Automotive Repair Technicians, HVAC Technicians, Introduction to Mechatronics, CNC Operators, and Quickbooks. announced 10 more programs in bookkeeping. .
more:North Central Michigan College Announces New Fast-Track Healthcare Program
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Students take online courses at their own pace and after several in-person technical days are placed by the university in an external training position, allowing them to gain 40 hours of experience before joining the workforce. .
“So we chose medical assistance because we knew it would be in high demand,” said Christy Lyons, NCMC Director of Corporate and Community Education.
“This is because we put together that program because we saw great demand for people who spent time on Indeed and other job sites, worked with accounts payable and receivable in an office environment, and had experience with QuickBooks. That’s why, and some of the upcoming ones are auto repair technicians and HVAC.
These programs allow students to qualify for professional work much sooner than they would with a degree and avoid debt due to financial aid options.
Even before the first Fast Track program ended in August, students were receiving job offers from local employers. After staying home and caring for her children for eight years, Tricia Morford, who joined the program, said she was invited to apply for two jobs, but that she had to apply for a job from Arcona Health Center in Harbor Springs. I accepted your offer as a medical assistant.
“When I interviewed Arkona, they were excited because I already had that training,” she said. But I already met all the requirements for vaccines and (tuberculosis) testing and everything was done, which made the transition much easier. They were happy to work around this crazy schedule for me. “
As a mother of four, ages 6 to 15, Morford had no plans to go back to school or work anytime soon, but decided to do so after hearing about the Fast Track program. Did.
“It seemed silly not to take advantage of this opportunity. I was a nursing assistant for eight years before I was home. I had the money, so it seems kind of silly not to do it at the time,” Morford said.