It may sound too good to be true, but full-time employment, on-the-job training, plus tuition assistance just became a reality thanks to new grant-supported apprenticeship programs in McHenry County. And, even better, students will have a high-skills job with career potential as they complete their schooling, said Catherine Jones, Associate Vice President of Workforce Development at McHenry County College.
According to Jones, local employers who’ve worked with the college to identify skilled workers have asked MCC to take it one step further. Now the training can be job specific and even company specific thanks to the new program.
“Apprenticeships allow companies to develop their workforce and fill their current skills gap,” Jones said. “It’s an earn-and-learn model that bridges classroom and career. Apprentices are hired by companies, earn a base wage, and the company pays the tuition expense.” Jones said students are supported throughout the duration of the program, including mentoring, tutoring, advising, and special services as needed.
MCC’s Apprenticeship Programs in Industrial Maintenance Technician and CNC Machining will start in mid-October with more to follow. An apprentice can be new to the company or an existing employee.
To participate, applicants without an existing employer relationship get assistance creating a resume and learning proper interview etiquette through MCC’s Career Services office. “Then they’re introduced to participating employers,” Jones said. “The employer pays release time for the in-class technical training and provides a company mentor for their on-the-job training.”
Overall, Jones said it’s a win/win for students and employers.
“Companies partner with MCC to invest in their future workforce needs to sustain growth, and the apprentice learns the company culture,” Jones explained. “Students gain a high-skills job with growth potential, education, and industry credentials in a growing field, progressive salary increases as skills develop, and they graduate with no college debt. The local economy benefits at the micro level and at the macro level.”
For more information on these and future apprenticeship opportunities, contact Jones at (815) 479-7751.