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St. Louis agencies launch apprenticeship program for trades at America’s Center

ST. LOUIS – Explore St. Louis and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment have launched an apprenticeship program
that will help create opportunities for the skilled union trades currently providing services to the clients and customers at the America’s Center convention complex.

The new initiative, entitled St. Louis Entertainment & Event Industry Apprenticeship Program, is designed to help build on the current skilled labor force working events at America’s Center, as well as assist in diversifying the union workforce giving opportunities to women and minorities to learn the necessary skills to work within the convention and trade show exposition Industry.

‘We are excited to launch the St. Louis Entertainment & Event Industry Apprenticeship Program here at America’s Center,” said Kathleen ‘Kitty’ Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis. “In addition to providing new opportunities for our skilled union workers, it will help enhance the services we are able to offer our customers through the cross-training of these trades making St. Louis’ skilled workers even more adaptable to the always changing needs of our customers.”

The program is made possible through a U.S. Department of Labor grant to SLATE under the Compete Midwest Initiative that was put forth by a coalition of three urban, Midwest, workforce development partners (SLATE and its counterparts in Milwaukee and Detroit), to jumpstart and spur the expansion and/or initiation of new registered apprenticeships in fields such as IT, healthcare,
manufacturing and construction.

“America’s Center is the irreplaceable hub around which so many activities revolve in downtown St. Louis, consistently bringing important professional and entertainment events to this premier venue and destination,” said Francis Slay, mayor of St. Louis. “The City of St. Louis and SLATE are proud to partner with Explore St. Louis and the unions that ensure that the very highest level of service is provided to these high profile gatherings.”

The program has been developed under Department of Labor guidelines standards and in close partnership with Decorators & Displaymen USW Local 39, IATSE Local 6 (stagehands) and IATSE Local 143 (projectionists).

Following are the core sections to be featured under the training program: OSHA safety and procedures, St. Louis hospitality, customer service, as well as fork lift and boom/scissor operation. There will also be on the job training to cross-train each apprentice in the specific skills for all three unions, including audio visual, production and exhibitor set-up.

“SLATE looks forward to working with the three local trade unions to help them access new talent and diversify their talent pool from the entire St. Louis metropolitan area,” said Michael Holmes, executive director of SLATE. “Registered apprenticeships will give jobseekers the chance to earn as they learn from experienced decorators, stagehands and projectionists. They will also be able to learn multiple skill sets and contribute to any and all events held at America’s Center.”

The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment  is a city agency that has served as a workforce development resource since 1974. SLATE serves tens of thousands of individual job seekers annually with skill assessments; individual employment plans; resume, networking and internet workshops; and access to housing, health and transportation supportive services. No fees are charged for any service provided by SLATE.
Explore St. Louis is the driving force behind St. Louis’ $5 billion convention and tourism industry, the official destination marketing organization of St. Louis City and County and operator of the America’s Center Convention Complex.

From Illinois Business Journal news services

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