Apprenticeship Works expanding in West Virginia

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) will honor West Virginia manufacturers that have launched apprenticeship programs with the assistance of Apprenticeship Works at RCBI.

The celebration is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 16, at 1:30 p.m. at RCBI Huntington (1050 Fourth Ave.). The business community and the public are encouraged to attend.

The West Virginia companies participating in Apprenticeship Works are Gestamp in South Charleston; HQ Aero in Bridgeport; Level 1 Fasteners in Huntington; Soles Enterprises in Fairmont; Touchstone Testing Lab in Triadelphia; Vossloh Track Material in St. Albans; and Weyerhaeuser in Sutton and Buckhannon. Additional West Virginia companies are expected to join the effort in coming months.

“We are pleased that so many West Virginia companies recognize the value of participating in Apprenticeship Works,” said Charlotte Weber, Director and CEO of RCBI. “Manufacturers see a substantial return on their investment when they offer an apprenticeship program.”

While a growing group of West Virginia companies is already reaping benefits from Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at RCBI, the initiative also is assisting companies in 11 states including Bowers Envelope of Indianapolis, Ind.; E&E Manufacturing of Athens, Tenn.; Martin Engineering of Neponset, Ill.; Mohawk Industries with headquarters in Calhoun, Ga.; Micro Machine Works of Barlow, Ohio; and Unipres of Portland, Tenn.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) has designated Nov. 13–19 as the week for leaders in business, labor, education and other partners to express their support for the national apprenticeship movement.

Funded by the DoL, Apprenticeship Works is creating apprenticeships in 17 manufacturing occupations across the United States. Apprenticeship Works also offers pre-apprenticeship programs for women, disadvantaged youth and transitioning veterans.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 150,000 businesses in a variety of industries have offered apprenticeship programs in the last 80 years. The benefits are substantial: Companies that offer apprenticeship programs improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, and reduce turnover and improve retention. Workers who have completed apprenticeships earn an average of $300,000 more over their lifetime than their non-apprentice peers.