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Illinois works' pre-apprenticeship program provides opportunities for successful trade careers

For many Illinois residents, a successful trade career is a desirable yet distant goal. The costs and commitments to acquire the necessary education, certifications, and training present substantial barriers to successfully initiating the process and sustaining it until completion. Fortunately, Illinois Works and its partners, Workforce Investment Solutions; Decatur’s Building Trades Unions; and One Level, are thrilled to offer a free pre-apprenticeship program designed to promote rewarding careers and present valuable opportunities for those interested in pursuing them. 

Illinois Works’ pre-apprenticeship program seeks to prepare an eager workforce for reliable, rewarding careers and remove the financial obstacles that may stand in the way of obtaining them. Students enrolled in the pre-apprenticeship program do so with all costs fully covered, and they even receive stipends for attending class and progressing through the program. 

John Russell, Richard Phillips, and Kaitlin Coate are all instructors who help make the program possible. Together, they provide a rich background of trade and teaching experience to help the next generation of union workers develop the skills they need to succeed.

“It started in July of 2020, and we actually started teaching the curriculum January the first of 2022”, explained Russell. “I do this because it gives the opportunity for women, minorities, and veterans to get into the trades. You’ve got a lot of people retiring out of the trades and they don’t have a good pipeline of people coming in.”

“I’ve been working with young people for over 45 years”, Phillips said. “So, when I retired, I decided to give to the union trades and try to see what I could do to help get our young people into the trades.”

Coate, meanwhile, began her career in GED instruction. “I kind of always enjoyed helping people better their lives and receive better opportunities”, she explained. “I kind of left the GED route and did more of the career planning and career preparedness so I could help people get into the union to receive this much better pay and much better benefits.”

Throughout the pre-apprenticeship program, students receive in-person instruction in a classroom format, are supported with valuable services to ensure their success, and are even given opportunities for hands-on learning to develop their skills and experience. “It’s not like a traditional instructor at a school where you sit eight hours in a classroom,” said Riley Johns, a past student in the program. “It’s very interactive. It’s hands on. The skills and the trades that they are showing you, what you might do in the future, you’re actually doing it.” Johns further shared his experience of getting to operate heavy machinery at places such as Caterpillar during his time in the program. “They trusted us enough to run their equipment there, just because we had been showing what we can do here in this program.”

By the end of the program, students receive industry recognized certifications and opportunities for immediate, seamless employment. Since graduating, Johns has been employed by Dunn Company in Decatur and has enjoyed a newfound financial freedom. “I never honesty thought at this age I’d be making the kind of money I do [and] enjoying it as much as I do”, he shared. “My life substantially improved.”

The pre-apprenticeship program is available for all Illinois residents who are a minimum of 18 years of age and possess either a High School diploma or GED. Furthermore, the program emphasizes the involvement of women, people of color, and veterans.

“Honestly, I would say this is the best program to get into if you want to go into the trades or even consider it”, Johns stated.

Classes for the pre-apprenticeship program are starting soon in April 2023. Those interested in learning more or applying for the program are encouraged to attend an information session at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 29th, at the IBEW Hall at 3390 North Woodford Street, Decatur, Illinois 62526.

To apply for the program and take the first steps towards a new, incredible career opportunity, you can click the link here: Pre-Apprenticeship Program – Workforce Investment Solutions (worknetdecatur.org)

Illinois works' pre-apprenticeship program provides opportunities for successful trade careers

For many Illinois residents, a successful trade career is a desirable yet distant goal. The costs and commitments to acquire the necessary education, certifications, and training present substantial barriers to successfully initiating the process and sustaining it until completion. Fortunately, Illinois Works and its partners, Workforce Investment Solutions; Decatur’s Building Trades Unions; and One Level, are thrilled to offer a free pre-apprenticeship program designed to promote rewarding careers and present valuable opportunities for those interested in pursuing them. 

Illinois Works’ pre-apprenticeship program seeks to prepare an eager workforce for reliable, rewarding careers and remove the financial obstacles that may stand in the way of obtaining them. Students enrolled in the pre-apprenticeship program do so with all costs fully covered, and they even receive stipends for attending class and progressing through the program. 

John Russell, Richard Phillips, and Kaitlin Coate are all instructors who help make the program possible. Together, they provide a rich background of trade and teaching experience to help the next generation of union workers develop the skills they need to succeed.

“It started in July of 2020, and we actually started teaching the curriculum January the first of 2022”, explained Russell. “I do this because it gives the opportunity for women, minorities, and veterans to get into the trades. You’ve got a lot of people retiring out of the trades and they don’t have a good pipeline of people coming in.”

“I’ve been working with young people for over 45 years”, Phillips said. “So, when I retired, I decided to give to the union trades and try to see what I could do to help get our young people into the trades.”

Coate, meanwhile, began her career in GED instruction. “I kind of always enjoyed helping people better their lives and receive better opportunities”, she explained. “I kind of left the GED route and did more of the career planning and career preparedness so I could help people get into the union to receive this much better pay and much better benefits.”

Throughout the pre-apprenticeship program, students receive in-person instruction in a classroom format, are supported with valuable services to ensure their success, and are even given opportunities for hands-on learning to develop their skills and experience. “It’s not like a traditional instructor at a school where you sit eight hours in a classroom,” said Riley Johns, a past student in the program. “It’s very interactive. It’s hands on. The skills and the trades that they are showing you, what you might do in the future, you’re actually doing it.” Johns further shared his experience of getting to operate heavy machinery at places such as Caterpillar during his time in the program. “They trusted us enough to run their equipment there, just because we had been showing what we can do here in this program.”

By the end of the program, students receive industry recognized certifications and opportunities for immediate, seamless employment. Since graduating, Johns has been employed by Dunn Company in Decatur and has enjoyed a newfound financial freedom. “I never honesty thought at this age I’d be making the kind of money I do [and] enjoying it as much as I do”, he shared. “My life substantially improved.”

The pre-apprenticeship program is available for all Illinois residents who are a minimum of 18 years of age and possess either a High School diploma or GED. Furthermore, the program emphasizes the involvement of women, people of color, and veterans.

“Honestly, I would say this is the best program to get into if you want to go into the trades or even consider it”, Johns stated.

Classes for the pre-apprenticeship program are starting soon in April 2023. Those interested in learning more or applying for the program are encouraged to attend an information session at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 29th, at the IBEW Hall at 3390 North Woodford Street, Decatur, Illinois 62526.

To apply for the program and take the first steps towards a new, incredible career opportunity, you can click the link here: Pre-Apprenticeship Program – Workforce Investment Solutions (worknetdecatur.org)

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for a successful trades career? Learn more and apply for the program by clicking the link below!


REGISTER FOR THE PRE-APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM HERE!