Para-Pro to Teacher RAP for Sterling Schools Story Image

Para-Pro to Teacher RAP for Sterling Schools

In the Spring of 2024, th... +
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Employer Name: Sterling Schools
Date: 07/08/2024
Career Pathway: Education and Training
Program: Apprenticeship Illinois
Location of Service: 61081-1391

In the Spring of 2024, the Business Employment Skills Team (BEST, Inc.) worked with Sterling Schools and BloomBoard, Inc., to develop a training strategy to address an ongoing shortage of certified teachers in rural Illinois. As a U.S. Department of Labor-recognized Registered Apprenticeship intermediary, BloomBoard, Inc., created the first turnkey pipeline strategy for school districts in the U.S.

The Apprenticeship Specialist at BEST, Inc., was approached to provide technical assistance regarding specific requirements for Registered Apprenticeship standards in Illinois, including Safety Training and Non-Sexual Harassment Training. The final set of apprenticeship standards was signed in May 2024.

Sterling Schools signed onto the BloomBoard standards as a participating employer to increase its pipeline of certified elementary education teachers. Training will begin in Fall 2024.

Broadband Initiative Yields 2 RAPs Story Image

Broadband Initiative Yields 2 RAPs

The Business Employment S... +
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Employer Name: Business Employer Skills Team, Inc.
Date: 07/08/2024
Career Pathway: Utilities
Program: Apprenticeship Illinois
Location of Service: 61350-4817

The Business Employment Skills Team (BEST, Inc.) worked with JoCarroll Energy and Wolf Line Construction to establish broadband technician standards in response to the lack of fully trained technicians in the northern portion of the workforce area.

BEST, Inc. also assisted two Career, Technical, and Education (CTE) institutions with career exploration materials. The Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC) received virtual reality goggles; both WACC and the CTE Academy in Hanover received career exploration virtual experiences to bring much-needed career and training information to the emerging workforce!

The partnerships with JoCarroll Energy, Wolf Line Construction, Whiteside Area Career Center, and the CTE Academy were an effort to retain local emerging talent and to make them aware of the skills needed for higher-paying opportunities available in broadband infrastructure installation.

To support JoCarroll Energy’s training needs, BEST, Inc. established a training lab and provided training funds for instructors at Morrison Institute of Technology to train JoCarroll apprentices. The Train-the-Trainer instruction was completed in June 2024, and apprentices will begin their instruction in the fall.

Successful Partnerships Increase Registered Apprenticeships in Water Management Story Image

Successful Partnerships Increase Registered Apprenticeships in Water Management

Danville Area Community C... +
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Employer Name: Illinois Rural Water Association
Date: 04/28/2024
Career Pathway: Agriculture, Food and Natural resources
Program: Apprenticeship Illinois
Location of Service: 62568-0011

Danville Area Community College and Vermilion County Works (VCW) have served as an apprenticeship intermediary for several years. A partnership with the Illinois Rural Water Association (IRWA) began in April 2022 after they approached VCW about projects they are working on. IRWA was interested in getting assistance in getting their new Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) off the ground.

The IRWA approved the Water Operator and Wastewater Operator RAPs but struggled to convince cities and municipalities they work with to invest in apprentices. The need for new water and wastewater operators is significant, as many experienced operators are quickly reaching retirement age. Still, local budgets must increase to hire new talent to replace departing workers. The municipalities thought apprenticeships were good training opportunities and said they could hire new talent but were unwilling or unable to commit funds to support participation in apprenticeships, such as training expenses or tools and supplies needed for apprentices to train. Through Apprenticeship Illinois, VCW provided funding for training costs and supportive services to apprentices participating in the RAPs directly to the municipalities in the local area. The Village of Tilton was first to sign on, followed by the Village of Westville, the City of Hoopeston, and later Gibson City and the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District.

The IRWA provided training to apprentices through an online training program, and the tools and supplies needed for instruction were paid for by the Apprenticeship Illinois funds. As a result, the IRWA’s apprenticeship program has seen significant growth over the past couple of years, and more municipalities continue to sign on to the program. The first graduate will finish his Wastewater Operator Certificate in the spring of 2024, with more graduates following later in the year. The online training program will also include an Illinois EPA Certification, allowing the local water systems to continue meeting regulatory requirements.