THE GREAT LAKES Area Boilermaker Apprenticeship Program just sweetened the pot for its members through a unique partnership with Lorain County Community College, located near Cleveland. Boilermakers can now earn college credits while they’re going through the apprenticeship, and better yet, it’s retroactive. The college and the Boilermakers announced their partnership at LCCC on Feb. 5.
“They were amazed at our program,” says GLABAP Coordinator Larry McManamon Jr. who was one of the people who first approached LCCC with the idea. “The college said it was top-notch and very structured. They were willing to give college credits to our apprentices who wanted to pursue a college degree while going through the apprenticeship.”
According to McManamon, having multiple pathways for residents to pursue careers that lead to in-demand jobs are important. It’s the reason behind the development of this partnership, which can benefit students in two ways: further education and recruitment.
While indentured, an apprentice can also be enrolled in the LCCC associate of applied science degree in welding technology. In addition, journeyman who’ve graduated from the apprenticeship can then enroll at LCCC to complete the balance of the associate degree.
Successful completion of the Boilermaker apprenticeship equates to 10 LCCC college courses and 29 LCCC college credits, putting a graduate apprentice or journeyman halfway to earning the associate of applied science degree in welding technology.
“In an apprenticeship program you get to apply what you learn in the classroom and lab into a real work environment,” says LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “Students become excited about what they are learning, are more engaged and also learn the material better.”
BNAP National Coordinator Mark Wertz said another benefit of this partnership is the potential for more members. “This allows us to better recruit,” says Wertz. “Especially because kids these days want to do better for themselves. This gives them an opportunity to receive college credit.”
Wertz says he hopes this model can be duplicated across all BNAP areas to benefit even more apprentices.
McManamon agrees. “Learning a skilled trade and getting your associates within your skill will help both the union and its apprentices. Skilled trades are a vital part of our economy, and it’s paramount to spread the word to young men and women who are looking find a career with a livable wage.”