CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia apprenticeship programs are highlighting their importance in honor of National Apprenticeship Week. This is a chance to make people more aware of different programs available for a career in the skilled trades.
College isn’t for everyone, but luckily apprenticeship programs offer people another route.
Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction for jobs in the skilled trades.
“It’s a very successful method been around for hundreds of years frankly but people are coming back to it realizing that it is a great way to learn skills,” Steve White, Affiliated Construction Trades Director said.,
Capitol YouthBuild Program Coordinator Shannon Robinson says employers across the mountain state are looking for skilled workers.
“With these apprenticeship programs in West Virginia, a lot of people talk about there are no jobs in West Virginia. Well, the apprenticeship program there are so many different ones. You have the labor union, the labors, the painters and the pipe fitting,” Robinson said.
Most of the apprenticeship programs deal with construction, like electricians and plumbers, but they also have non-craft opportunities.
Apprenticeship programs in the whole state of West Virginia there’s probably about 2000 people in apprenticeship programs. about 500 new entrance every year, and again these programs are privately funded,” White said.
Many people involved in these programs did not finish high school, but apprenticeships provide hope.
“They’re very productive programs because those kids that have dropped out of school are 16 to 24 and really don’t have anywhere to go or don’t know what to do,” Robinson said.
Those in the skilled trades industry say a lot of veteran construction workers are getting ready to retire and so now there is a need for more young people to get trained to fill those jobs.