Roane State Community College is joining the stateâ€™s growing movement to better train new workers by sponsoring apprenticeship programs with area businesses and industries. The college is currently working with one of Anderson Countyâ€™s biggest employers.
â€œWe will be working with SL Tennessee and our Middle College students in mechatronics to develop programs of study and identify specific apprenticeship tasks,â€ said Kim Harris, the collegeâ€™s director of workforce training and placement.
â€œWe look forward to working closely with Roane State in starting the apprenticeship program,â€ said SL Tennessee Director Scott Laska. â€œWe believe that this program will help solve our skills gap in our operation and provide meaningful career opportunities for the community.â€
SL Tennessee, located in the Clinton Interstate 75 Industrial Park, manufactures automotive parts and is near Roane Stateâ€™s Clinton Higher Education and Workforce Training Facility. The collegeâ€™s classes in mechatronicsâ€”the engineering of electrical and mechanical systemsâ€”are offered there.
Those classes are also available to students in Roane Stateâ€™s Middle College program, where high school students can take college courses and graduate from both Roane State and their high school at the same time.
Area educators and employers learned about various apprenticeship programs and opportunities during a recent meeting in the collegeâ€™s Clinton facility.
Two state experts in the fieldâ€”Tennessee Department of Laborâ€™s State Apprenticeship Director Tyra Copas and Tennessee Board of Regentsâ€™ Assistant Vice Chancellor of Community and Economic Development Nathan Garrettâ€”answered questions about apprenticeship opportunities.
Garrett said the TBRâ€™s venture into the initiative kicked off last August, and 12 Tennessee Colleges are now sponsors of registered apprenticeship programs.
An apprenticeship is a proven training program for recruiting, training, and retaining talented workers. They are supervised, full-time positions with on-the-job training and job-related education.
Harris said officials want to offer apprenticeship opportunities to traditional students along with 16- and 17-year-old candidates. â€œWe want to grow skilled workers,â€ Copas said.
Harris said Roane Stateâ€™s sponsored apprenticeship program should be up and running within the next two months.
Sponsors have administrative duties for apprenticeship programs and track the participantsâ€™ progress. This allows the employer time to focus on training the new employee. For more information on how Roane State can partner with your business on apprenticeships, contact Kim Harris at (865) 882-4695.