Apprenticeship Programs Immerse Graduates in the Workforce

A bona fide apprenticeship program is a great way to learn on the job and launch a rewarding career.

Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity for individuals to obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction and a portable, nationally recognized credential. Apprenticeships are available across all industries including health care, construction, information technology, manufacturing and many more.

“I think the most important thing for students and parents to realize is that with an apprenticeship, you’re earning money while you’re learning a skill,” says Shannon Williams, career and technical education consultant at the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD).

According to Pure Michigan Talent Connect, the Mitten State boasts more than 1,000 registered apprenticeship programs and more than 20,000 active apprentices – making our state a leader in the country when it comes to these types of programs.

In Macomb County, a number of apprenticeship program opportunities are available including HVAC, die design, carpentry, tool and die making, machine repair and more.

Not sure where to find these opportunities? If your child is interested in an apprenticeship program, read on for advice about how to get started.

Securing an apprenticeship

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Students in enrolled in high schools in Macomb County who are interested in skilled trades and apprenticeships have two unique opportunities that allow for early exploration: Manufacturing Day and the Map+ Industrial Readiness Certificate Program.

On Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, roughly 2,300 students from the 21 districts in the county participated in the annual Manufacturing Day, which provided students an opportunity to tour local manufacturing facilities.

During the tours, students got a closer look at different career options, what exactly certain trade workers do during their days and more.

For students interested in pre-apprenticeship training, Leslie Fletemier, apprenticeship coordinator with the MISD, says they can apply to participate in the Map+ Industrial Readiness Certificate Program, which is offered through Macomb Community College. 

Leslie Fletemier, who acts as a liaison between the school districts and the community college, points out that this is a free program to student. The next cohort runs from January until May 2020 and introduces students to the basic skills employers in the skilled trades are looking for.

During the program, which welcomes 24 students at a time, students receive 16 hours of workplace readiness training.

“That is so unique. That is hands-down the best part of this program,” Fletemier says of the workplace training. Those who complete the program earn an industrial readiness certificatefrom Macomb Community College.

Identifying kids for the program

When it comes to identifying possible program candidates, Fletemier turns to the local schools.

“I have a great relationship with the counseling departments throughout the county.  This allows me to visit every Macomb County high school in order to ensure MAP+ is shared with students,” Fletemier says.

“Usually counselors meet, especially with juniors and seniors, to talk about their career plans. During these meetings, if they can identify a student who might be interested in this type of post-secondary training they will start a list,” Fletemier adds. “Then I return to the school close to the information session Macomb CC will run regarding MAP+ and introduce the program personally to those students while encouraging them to attend the informational session at Macomb CC.”

In addition, the Macomb Intermediate School District also works with the Michigan Works! Association, which provides great information on apprenticeships in skilled trades, IT and even health care, Williams adds.  

For additional information on apprenticeships, visit the Macomb Community College website or check out the apprenticeship page on Oakland County’s website.

Want to see Manufacturing Day in action? Peek at the video below:

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