THS Announces Pre-Apprenticeship Partnership

THS Announces Pre-Apprenticeship Partnership
Posted on 03/09/2021

Tennessee High School and J.A. Street & Associates signed a partnership agreement on March 9 for the first state-certified pre-apprenticeship program in northeast Tennessee.

The construction pre-apprenticeship agreement ensures students who meet the requirements of the course standards, complete the NCCER and OSHA10 Construction Industry Certification, and have successful attendance and discipline records will be guaranteed an interview with the partnering company. J.A. Street is the first construction company in the northeast Tennessee region to take advantage of a pre-apprenticeship pipeline to meet their growing workforce needs.

The second part of the March event celebrated a signing ceremony for the first student to enter the newly formed program: Luke Worley, THS senior. In February 2021, Brad Goodman, the THS construction teacher, and Deidre Pendley, director of career and technical education for Bristol Tennessee City Schools (BTCS) recommended Luke, a successful construction student, to J.A. Street through the pre-apprenticeship program. Following his interview, Luke was hired by J.A. Street. Luke will earn hours towards the four-year Registered Apprenticeship Program from his NCCER and OSHA10 certifications as well as actual work hours during his Work Based Learning (WBL) course. This WBL course allows him to leave THS to travel to a J.A. Street construction jobsite each school day from the last period of the day until the end of the day and on weekends.

“A pre-apprenticeship pipeline is one of many of the advantages of a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP),” said Tyra Copas, state apprenticeship director for Tennessee. “A pre-apprenticeship is a program or set of strategies designed to prepare individuals for entry into RAPs. Pre-apprenticeship programs have varied program elements; however, at the core, all place an individual on a pathway to employability through a RAP.”

Through a partnership with Northeast State Community College and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), J.A. Street developed two Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Carpentry and Metal Buildings. The purpose of today’s partnership agreement between J.A. Street and Tennessee High School is to prepare a skilled workforce aligned with the framework of J.A. Street’s RAP. This pre-apprenticeship at Tennessee High School provides a seamless pathway for students to enter into long-term employment with an apprenticeship beginning at $11 per hour with increases in pay every six months leading to at least $18 per hour upon completion of the four-year apprenticeship.

“This program helps us to align the region’s CTE programs with our apprenticeship programs,” said Heath McMillian, executive director of economic and workforce development, Northeast State Community College, RCAM.

“Our goal is to provide high-quality CTE programs in a variety of high-wage, in-demand, and/or growing careers available in the Bristol area,” Pendley said. “This pre-apprenticeship partnership aligns perfectly with our goal for students. We now have a model to carry over to our additional 20 plus CTE programs of study. Our hope is for this program to be the catalyst for other industries to join our commitment to achieving sustainable careers for our students and a sustainable workforce for our community.”

“The THS construction pre-apprenticeship program, along with the apprenticeship partnership with RCAM and J.A. Street, is a model program that can be duplicated throughout not only in the construction industry but in all industries.” Copas said. “Both pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeships are a pathway to sustainable employment for so many in our state, and it is a workforce solution that directly addresses the workforce challenges our employers face every day.”                                                

According to Copas, apprenticeships offer a high-quality career pathway in which students can obtain paid work experience; receive virtual or in-person classroom instruction; obtain a nationally recognized and portable credential; secure a means to a future in high-paying jobs; and complete their education without obtaining debt. For employers, apprenticeships allow them to develop and train their future workforce with the skills specific to their organizational needs. Communities benefit from apprenticeships as it provides the best implementation of a public-private partnership by improving the workforce; providing support to local employers; and changing the economic trajectory of households in Tennessee.

This pre-apprenticeship program was a collaborative effort of BTCS Career and Technical Education, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services and the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

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