Yes, it’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to summer (unofficially) and the kids say hello to teachers and friends in their new classrooms. September is the perfect time for us to describe the apprenticeship programs in place at Ohio Valley and how this type of program benefits all involved.

What exactly is an apprenticeship? It may sound like some outdated and medieval tradition, but apprenticeships within the manufacturing field are quite common and extremely valuable. Today’s apprenticeship programs combine classroom instruction with paid on the job training. It follows an earn-while-you-learn model and offers recipients a nationally recognized credential. As the skills gap in manufacturing is expected to continue, we need to find ways to encourage Millennials to enter the manufacturing industry.

According to the Center for American Progress, expanding apprenticeships offers Millennials the following benefits:

  • Apprentices are jobs
  • Apprentices earn higher wages
  • Apprentices gain an education with little or no debt
  • Apprenticeships create a pathway to middle-class jobs for those without a four-year degree
  • Apprenticeships grow the economy by making American businesses more competitive

This isn’t something new for us to learn about—Ohio Valley has been sponsoring an apprenticeship program for many years and we see the benefits for everyone involved. Our partnerships with North Central State College and The Ohio State University at Mansfield offer students a chance to get hands-on learning/working in tool and die making experience as well as classroom instruction that will lead to a college degree.

An apprenticeship program like the one at Ohio Valley gives students the opportunity to earn college credits while working in a relevant field. This varied learning experience may be the difference between earning a degree or not. We all know that traditional schooling isn’t right for every student. Apprenticeship programs teach skills while also valuing the classroom experience. This is a great path for the next generation to start building a career in manufacturing.