RCBI recognized as national apprenticeship leader

April 12, 2017

CHARLESTON The U.S. Department of Labor has named the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) as a national leader in workforce development for its apprenticeship efforts.

Earning the ApprenticeshipUSA Leader designation places RCBI in the top ranks of more than 160 businesses, educational institutions, labor organizations and others from across the United States that emphasize the value of apprenticeships and encourage greater adoption of the workforce strategy.

"This recognition highlights the role RCBI plays in educating workers and our extreme dedication to changing West Virginia’s manufacturing landscape," said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. "We’re pleased that our innovative model is contributing to a resurgent industry that continues to drive our economy.

"For the United States to thrive in a global economy and expand its manufacturing base," Weber said, "we must continue to pursue and implement innovative approaches that produce a workforce that is capable of meeting today’s manufacturing challenges."

RCBI is home to Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership. Working with partners across the country, Apprenticeship Works is making apprenticeship programs more affordable for companies and more accessible for employees.

“RCBI is proud to be named an ApprenticeshipUSA Leader,” said Lucinda Curry, director of Apprenticeship Works. “Each day, we see the value of apprenticeships in the lives and careers of employees as well as how this strategyenhances the companies that employ them.”

Through its Apprenticeship Works initiative, RCBI assists manufacturers in establishing apprenticeship programs in a variety of occupations, including machinists, maintenance technicians, press operators, 3D printing technicians and robotics technicians.

Funded by a five-year, $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Apprenticeship Works’ partners include the Marshall University Research Corp.; the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS); Tooling U-SME; America Makes; the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers; WorkScouts; Job Corps; West Virginia Women Work; West Virginia community and technical colleges; and others.

The benefits of apprenticeships are substantial: Companies that offer registered apprenticeship programs diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training and reduce turnover. Employees who take part in apprenticeship programs learn valuable skills while earning a living. Some apprentices also earn a degree from a local community college. To learn more, go to www.rcbi.org/online/apprenticeships