Taking advantage of expanding apprenticeship opportunities

Employers are utilizing federal grants to train and hire new workers
New Hampshire is expected to gain about 47|!!|000 new jobs by 2024|!!| and the current annual average number of job openings is expected to reach 31|!!|270

If you’re looking to change careers, an apprenticeship may be the best way to explore a new industry, and there couldn’t be a better time.

In 2017, the Community College System of New Hampshire obtained a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to expand apprenticeships in the state.  CCSNH is focused on partnering with employers to create apprenticeships in three growing industries: health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing.

Apprenticeships can take anywhere from one year to six years to complete. Apprenticeship programs require a minimum of 144 hours (or 18 8-hour days) of classroom learning and 2,000 hours (or 50 weeks) of paid on-the-job training.

Apprentices receive a paycheck from day one that increases incrementally as skill levels increase. Upon completing an apprenticeship, individuals can earn up to $60,000 a year.

Although classroom learning is provided by the Community College System, most apprenticeship programs do not earn college credit, though some programs do offer college credit. There are scholarships available through ApprenticeshipNH to help apprentices cover the cost of tuition for the classroom component of an apprenticeship, but, in many cases, apprentices’ financial responsibility is minimal, especially considering earnings during the program. And many employers will pay their apprentices for the time they spend in class.

Apprenticeship opportunities are dependent on employer participation. LRGHealthcare and Catholic Medical Center have partnered with Lakes Region Community College and Manchester Community College to train medical assistants. Eptam Plastics in Northfield and Granite State Manufacturing in Manchester have partnered with Lakes Region Community College and Nashua Community College to train CNC machinists.

Great Bay Community College’s Business & Training Center has announced a new home health aide class scheduled to take place at the Portsmouth campus in September 2018, as part of Senior Helpers of the Greater Seacoast’s apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship lasts one year, with 144 hours of classroom instruction at GBCC and a starting wage of $12 an hour. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, workers can earn $13 an hour with the opportunity to receive higher hourly wages during high-demand shifts.

While apprenticeships may start at the lower end of the salary spectrum, there are opportunities for growth. Employers like Eptam Plastics raise the wage by a dollar for every 1,000 hours completed.

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies of Bristol is utilizing the apprenticeship program to assist current employees with gaining new skills to move upward in the ranks and open up entry-level positions. Freudenberg’s program does include credit-bearing classes.  And Freudenberg apprentices, which are existing employees, are earning $16 per hour, with the opportunity to earn $17.20 an hour in their third year of the program.

There is great growth opportunity in health care, IT and advanced manufacturing. New Hampshire Employment Labor Marketing Information reveals high average weekly earnings for each of the three growing industries. For instance, the average weekly earnings for advanced manufacturing positions is $1,076 per week or $55,952 a year. By 2022, NH ELMI projects New Hampshire will add 6,000 new jobs in IT, which average at $1,033 a week or $53,715 per year. But health care will grow the most, projects NH ELMI, with 20,000 jobs added by 2022. The average weekly earnings for a health care job in New Hampshire is $903 per week or $46,956 a year.

If you’re not currently working but want to be, or have limited education or experience, apprenticeship is your chance to get the skills you need to land a new job or that supervisor position.

The ApprenticeshipNH office is staffed by apprenticeship guides from New Hampshire’s community colleges that can help individuals apply for an apprenticeship, set up a training program and navigate any financial questions. And ApprenticeshipNH seeks to encourage applicants from underrepresented populations including low-income individuals, individuals with disabilities, youth, women, veterans, individuals with limited English proficiency, etc.

Individuals can apply for apprenticeships at https://apprenticeshipnh.org/for-individuals/apply/or learn more by contacting Emily Zeien, grant manager of ApprenticeshipNH at 603-230-3526 or ezeien@ccsnh.edu.

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