National Apprenticeship Week Recognized in W.Va.

Nov. 6, 2015

HUNTINGTON — West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared Nov. 2-8, 2015, as National Apprenticeship Week in the Mountain State.

In his proclamation, Gov. Tomblin noted that apprenticeships enhance the economic vitality of the state by providing a well-educated and highly skilled workforce.

Apprenticeships present an affordable, hands-on, “earn-and-learn” training model by combining work-based learning with related classroom instruction that uses the highest industry standards, according to Charlotte Weber, Director & CEO of the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded RCBI $4.9 million for the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, a five-year nationwide initiative that will make apprenticeships more affordable to employers and more accessible to employees and individuals considering careers in manufacturing.

Through this initiative, apprenticeships will be established in occupations such as manual and computer-controlled machining, as well as the emerging fields of additive manufacturing (better known as 3D Printing), composites and robotics. The initiative also will focus on innovative pre-apprenticeship programs for women, transitioning military personnel and disadvantaged youth.

Working in a variety of industries — including automotive, aerospace, robotics, defense and related industries — the RCBI program will serve at least 1,000 apprentices and 415 pre-apprentices across the United States.

The benefits of apprenticeships are substantial. Companies that offer registered apprenticeship programs improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover and diversity their workforce. Employees who participate in an apprenticeship program learn new skills and gain valuable industry credentials while earning a salary. Some apprentices work toward an associate’s degree from a community college, further enhancing their careers.

According to the U.D. Department of Labor, there are more than 445,000 active apprenticeships across the country.

Operating for more than 25 years as West Virginia’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, RCBI encourages job creation, economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting manufacturing technology. RCBI provides local access to leading-edge equipment, specialized training and business development assistance for everyone from sole proprietors to Fortune 500 companies so they can remain at the forefront of innovation in an increasingly global economy.