NORFOLK, Neb. – As the nation observed Apprenticeship Week recently, Northeast Community College celebrated its current apprentices and businesses who have partnered with the institution on the program.
Throughout the week, the apprenticeship staff at Northeast was out in area communities to speak with employers about the program, thank businesses that have already partnered with the College, and celebrate the apprentices who are in the program and doing amazing work. These individuals are considered the future workforce of northeast Nebraska.
Apprenticeship is an earn and learn model that offers another pathway to career success. Kimberly Andersen, registered apprenticeship director at Northeast, said the program is highly beneficial for adult learners who are looking for a career switch and/or upskill. Adult learners are typically not able to attend school full-time like a traditional college student as they need to earn an income to support their family. She said the apprenticeship model allows them to start a new career path and earn an income along the way.
“Our state’s historically strong labor market is great news for Nebraskans looking for their next career opportunity. At the same time, it poses challenges for companies looking to hire great people,” Andersen said. “In this labor market, employers must be creative to recruit and retain the talent they need to grow. Apprenticeship programs are the creative solution to the workforce shortage we are seeing today. We have a talent pool that is currently untapped, and Northeast’s apprenticeship program allows employers to tap into that market and upskill those individuals to the skilled workers they need.”
Northeast Community College has become a registered apprenticeship sponsor for information technology (IT) helpdesk, certified nursing assistant, accounting technician and child development associate. Northeast is also actively working on developing apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, diesel technology, industrial maintenance, and welding.
Matt Bryce, IT helpdesk apprentice at Northeast, said, “The apprenticeship program has helped me open so many doors to different career paths in the IT field. I had so much hands-on experience and it allowed me to get my first step into an ever-growing industry. The experience set me up for a truly amazing career.”
“Matt has been an IT apprentice with us for nine months and has made huge progress in growing his skills and abilities,” said Mike Auten, director of service center operations at Northeast and Bryce’s on-the-job mentor. “He is a great asset, and we are so thankful we embarked on this apprenticeship journey.”
Applied Connective Technologies in Norfolk is one company that has partnered with Northeast on the apprenticeship program.
“Applied Connective is excited to be participating in the apprenticeship program through Northeast Community College,” said Ed Knott, president. “Developing a pipeline for new technical talent is key to our growth and this program helps meet that demand in a way that benefits our organization and the apprentice.”
“The apprenticeship program has been an amazing opportunity for me to get a head start in my career,” said Faith Nunn, an apprentice at Applied Connective. “The program is laid out almost like building blocks and it allows you to really grow your skills as you are working and gaining professional experience.”
Andersen said the overall goal with Northeast Community College’s apprenticeship program is to connect local talent with employers to keep people living, working and raising families in northeast Nebraska. She said apprenticeship programs are for anyone between the ages of 17-75 who is looking to jumpstart their career path or switch careers.
Governor Rickets proclaimed Nov. 14-20 as Apprenticeship Awareness Week in Nebraska to highlight the many ways apprenticeships are helping build a world-class workforce in Nebraska. Over the past year, there has been rapid growth in registered apprenticeship programs throughout the state. In federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022, more new employers have been added to apprenticeship programs in Nebraska than in FFYs 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined. There are now more than 4,000 active apprentices in Nebraska.
Northeast Community College Information Technology (IT) Helpdesk Apprenticeship Matt Bryce, Chicago, (center) is congratulated by Mike Auten, director of service center operations, and Kimberly Andersen, registered apprenticeship director, as part of an Apprenticeship Awareness Week observance at the College. In addition to IT helpdesk, Northeast has become a registered apprenticeship sponsor for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), accounting technician and Child Development Associate. The College is also actively working on developing apprenticeship programs in welding, diesel technology, industrial maintenance, and advanced manufacturing.