Rend Lake College and Man-Tra-Con Corporation co-hosted employers and local community members to its third Annual Apprenticeship Works Roundtable at the Ina campus.
Employers, college officials, and current apprentices discussed how the Apprenticeship Works program is conducted and how it benefits everyone.
“The apprenticeship program allows for real-world experience with hands-on training,” said Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson. “The value that brings for industry, and the classroom, make the experiences more vibrant and better for the workforce.”
Rend Lake College has 18 apprenticeships, with two more on the horizon.
“The apprenticeship model is simple,” said Tonya Odum, the Director of Apprenticeships and Community & Corporate Education at RLC. “It is employer-driven, and it works. Almost any occupation you can think of can have an apprenticeship piece.”
Apprenticeship programs allow participants to earn a living while learning a trade. They are students and employees simultaneously. Students can expect gradual wage increases as they gain experience and skillsets. Apprentices often have little to no college debt upon completion of their program.
Partnering with RLC on the event was Man-Tra-Con Corporation out of Marion, Illinois. Man-Tra-Con aims to collaborate effectively with workforce partners to create quality workforce solutions throughout Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, and Williamson counties.
“We have apprenticeship programs ranging from aviation, police officer, diesel mechanics, medical assistants, and more,” Said Emily Perks, Business Services & Special Program Manager with Man-Tra-Con Corporation. “Many employers have tuition reimbursement programs in place. Through the apprenticeship program, we can also provide educational assistance with tools, books, and mileage.”
Through the program, employers have skilled workers coming through a pipeline to their industry and may qualify for tax credits for participating.
The panel of employers consisted of Crucial, Natural Enrichment Industries, City of Carbondale, Pepsi, Continental Tire, and Phoenix Modular Elevator.