Jenny Heather (Regional Human Resource Manager at Caterpillar), an East Central Illinois Workforce Board member, worked with Parkland College to design and launch a first-of-its-kind Warehouse Associate Registered Apprenticeship Program! Warehouse workers attended classes offsite at Parkland College. They completed four courses: Career and Technical Ethics, Supply Chain Management, Warehouse Operations, and Introduction to Business. The first cohort graduated in March 2023. Over 200 Caterpillar employees were in attendance to celebrate, along with representatives from Parkland College, East Central Illinois workNet, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, and Apprenticeship Illinois. The work done in Champaign, Illinois, helped to impact a global company!
Clay County Hospital (Flora, Illinois), in partnership with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges and LWIA 23 Business Services, officially registered one of Illinois' first end-to-end Registered Nursing apprenticeship programs!
Apprentices at Clay County Hospital will begin their career pathway by earning their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential. They will work as CNAs while completing coursework toward their Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and eventual Registered Nurse (RN) credentials. All of this education will be funded by Clay County to ensure apprentices receive a fully-immersive, debt-free education in the nursing field. By frontloading the apprenticeship with CNA training, Clay County hopes to provide an equitable opportunity to interested High School Diploma/GED holders in the Clay County area and graduating High School seniors with Health Occupation-related course experience.
As employers throughout the healthcare sector face difficulties with retention and increased demand for high-skill roles such as LPNs and RNs, an investment in Registered Apprenticeships is a cutting-edge, long-term solution to allow for the cultivation of new talent well as the opportunity for upskilling. Working with a regional Apprenticeship Navigator provides a streamlined, hassle-free registration experience with the Department of Labor that remains employer-led.
Scaling Tech Apprenticeships:
DPI recruited, vetted, and enrolled pre-apprentices into a Java-intensive program designed and hosted by City Colleges of Chicago. Upon completing the program, pre-apprentices were invited to apply and interview with DPI's employer partner, Cognizant, a Fortune 200 company. Those hired into the apprenticeship program started at $25/hour with benefits. During this past quarter, seven apprentices completed the full-time, intensive classroom training provided by Cognizant Academy in full-stack development and are now participating in the on-the-job learning (OJL) portion of the apprenticeship program.
One of the five components of Registered Apprenticeship is "Rewards for Skill Gains." Cognizant rewarded these seven apprentices with a significant pay increase for their skill gains. Apprentices went from $25/hour to $34/hour. This is equivalent to more than $70k a year....as an apprentice!
Cognizant continues to provide support to the apprentices during their OJL journey.
Pictured is Melissa Chaca, an apprentice at Cognizant.