By RANDY PIERCE
As the lead administrative agency for a pre-apprenticeship training program covering the St. Louis region, the Madison County Employment and Training Department is moving forward with this concept which is designed to help prepare individuals for careers in a variety of meaningful areas.
Utilizing grant money received from the United States Department of Labor, the Madison County Board approved eight resolutions at its late September meeting, earmarking those funds for various training programs offered by educational institutions and other entities.
That legislation, recommended unanimously by the county’s grants and finance committees earlier in September, establishes contractual agreements for the DOL’s “Apprenticeship Building America Grant” to be provided to the following recipients, shown with the number of students entitled to receive the training and the subject of career focus in each instance:
- $500,000 to the University of Missouri – St. Louis for 185 participants, elementary and secondary education;
- $375,000 to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for 75 participants, elementary and secondary education;
- $31,200 to Southwestern Illinois College for 24 participants, healthcare;
- $250,000 to McKendree University for 50 participants, elementary education;
- $98,750 to STAR for Early Childhood Educators Inc. of St. Louis for 25 participants, healthcare and bioscience;
- $67,200 to LIV Recovery Sober Living LLC of St. Peters, Missouri for 28 participants, peer support specialist employment;
- $137,500 to the Special School District of St. Louis for 55 participants, healthcare and bioscience; and
- $50,000 to Hospital Sisters Healthcare System of Springfield, Illinois for 20 participants, healthcare and bioscience.
Tony Fuhrmann, director of employment and training for the county, explained that these short-term pre-apprenticeship programs will be offered at no cost to the students to help prepare them to advance into actual on-site apprenticeship settings with applicable employers plus further classroom education as needed.
With no restrictions on who can participate, Fuhrmann noted that most of the pre-apprenticeships last between four and eight weeks. Recipient agencies or educational institutions who are part of this program have to meet specific guidelines, document what the funds are being used for and provide details about the training being provided.
Fuhrmann explained to the county board finance committee that the six “workforce areas” overseen by his department as related to this effort include Madison, St. Clair, St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson/Franklin counties plus the City of St. Louis.
Last year, he added, a five-year grant totaling $4.8 million was received for the pre-apprenticeship training with a goal established in conjunction with it being to enroll and develop 750 new apprentices.
Randy Pierce is a reporter for Herald Publications, part of the Better Newspapers Inc. media family.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story also appears in the October 2023 print edition of the Illinois Business Journal.)