Wallace State earns designation as Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor by the U.S. Department of Labor

Pictured are Christina Holmes, Wallace State’s Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning coordinator, and Jamie Blackmon, director of the Center for Career and Workforce Development.  

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week and has been appointed as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

As a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor, Wallace State has made a commitment to make significant investments to design and execute apprenticeship programs for its students. The college currently has active registered apprentices on campus working for Met-South, Inc., in Hanceville and Kamtek in Birmingham along with other program-related apprenticeships at numerous area industries.

“This is very exciting news for the college, our students and our industry partners. This is going to give us the capabilities to provide additional earn and learn opportunities for our students. Because of this, our apprentices will be registered through the Department of Labor and receive a nationally-recognized credential,” said Christina Holmes, Wallace State’s Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning coordinator.

An apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable credential. According to the Department of Labor, during the 2016 fiscal year, there were 500,000 active apprentices in more than 21,000 registered apprenticeship programs.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s Success Plus Initiative aims to add 500,000 credentialed employees to Alabama’s workforce by 2025 and establishing more apprenticeships is a component of that plan.

Wallace State’s redesigned Center for Career and Workforce Development program is actively engaged in the development of additional apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities for students, aiming to be an integral part of Governor Ivey’s Success Plus plan.

“Our name change was directly related to the governor’s plan and the goal to increase the workforce in the state. Many businesses and industries are looking to hire apprentices, giving them a pipeline to hiring new, skilled employees,” Director Jamie Blackmon said.

At Met-South, Wallace State student Hunter Whitehead is the current registered apprentice. At Kamtek, a new group of apprentices consists of Oris Andrade, Brendon Hatcher, Niakaya Sampson, Oscar Jett, Zachary Colvin, Samuel Mize, Camden Davis, Juddson Raia, Tiera Porter, Joshua Taite, Brandon Murphy, Adam Killian, Ronald Rice and Kevin Spencer. These apprentices were recognized during recent proclamation signings by the mayors of Cullman, Hanceville and Oneonta celebrating National Apprenticeship Week.

During the Spring 2020 semester, Wallace State plans to have nearly 40 registered apprentices on campus, once additional Kamtek apprentices and others join the program. Wallace State is planning to have additional apprenticeships for Tool & Die Maker, Maintenance Mechanic, Operating Engineer and Diesel Mechanic occupations for the spring.

Through the latest designation as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor, Wallace State also hopes to expand apprenticeships over the next three to five years to business education and healthcare fields and to additional technical occupations.

“National Apprenticeship Week is another opportunity for us to celebrate not only our apprentices and students, but our relationships with those businesses who are sponsoring our apprentices. We’re always in the business of celebrating those partnerships. A business finds the individual it wants to invest time and money into and grows them into a valuable asset for that company,” said Dr. Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State’s dean of Applied Technologies.

Anyone interested in learning more about apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities through Wallace State’s Center for Career and Workforce Development is encouraged to attend upcoming meetings. A session is planned for Dec. 4 for high school counselors and industry partners and on Feb. 4, 2020 for high school seniors and parents.

For more information on the upcoming meetings and the Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor designation, contact Holmes at 256-352-8120 or Christina.holmes@wallacestate.edu.

For more on the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships, visit www.alapprentice.org/

For more information about National Apprenticeship Week, visit www.apprenticeship.gov/national-apprenticeship-week

For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.