St. Clair County has gotten a boost in helping job-seekers start a career.
The United States Department of Labor has designated the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department as the first Local Workforce Development Area in the state to be approved as a Registered Apprenticeship Program Intermediary/Sponsor.
The designation will allow the Grants Department to work with local employers to help them hire and train individuals who will receive occupational credentials from the Labor Department after they complete a federal Registered Apprenticeship Program.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kim Jones, the state director with the United States Department of Labor, ETA-Office of Apprenticeship, and County Board Chairman Mark Kern signed the “Standards of Apprenticeship” agreement. Bruce A.L. Hallam, USDOL Apprenticeship & Training representative was also present.
“Chairman Kern and I give credit to our Workforce Development Group here at the Grants Department led by Group Coordinator Rick Stubblefield and his staff — Cindy Layman in particular,” said Terry Beach, executive director of the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department and the county’s economic development director.
“ Last calendar year, we provided 28,000 services to job seekers, existing workers, and employers from our six offices located in our five-county Local Workforce Development Area,” Beach said, referring to Clinton, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington counties.
Kern said it was an honor for the county. “Our staff at the Grants Department has been working diligently with the United States Department of Labor preparing for this day.”
A registered apprenticeship program is a way for job-seekers to earn a paycheck from the first day of work, by earning and learning on the job. Participants can learn a skill or trade and have the potential to earn college credits. They will have the chance to succeed in a long-term career with a competitive salary, among other benefits.
For participating businesses, the advantages include being able to recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce and reduce turnover rates, which helps productivity and the bottom line.
PHOTO: Kim Jones, the state director with the United States Department of Labor, ETA-Office of Apprenticeship, and County Board Chairman Mark Kern, both seated, sign the “Standards of Apprenticeship” agreement.