KINGSPORT — For centuries, an apprentice trained under an expert artisan mastered the technology of the times in civilizations worldwide.
The modern apprentice reunites these processes in electromechanical technology, mechanical technology, machining, metal fabrication and more for a new generation of artisans.
Northeast State Community College and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) enable this age-old tradition by offering registered apprenticeship programs to provide a structured training process using the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Apprenticeship Standards. The DOL provides certification for more than 1,000 occupations.
As a DOL-registered apprenticeship sponsor, RCAM develops training curricula for companies of any size. This training is critical for smaller companies and entrepreneurs who might not otherwise offer or sustain an apprenticeship program for their employees. Each employee completing a sponsored apprenticeship receives a DOL certificate of completion.
The process is straightforward. Companies may contact RCAM, and the staff will guide them through becoming an Authorized Training Agent.
The RCAM sponsored its first apprenticeship program in the Spring of 2017 when Kingsport's Silgan Closures entered into a registered apprenticeship program in RCAM's mechatronics technician program.
For 2022-23, RCAM has signed agreements with Bell, Cardinal Glass FG, Fiber Innovation Technology, ebm-papst, J.A. Street & Associates, and Snap-on. These apprenticeships range from mechatronics to carpentry to metal-building construction.
Northeast State recently welcomed 14 new associates from J.A. Street & Associates General Contractors who joined the College's group apprenticeship program.
All the new apprentices are training to be project managers at J.A. Street and will enter the construction superintendent program. The new agreement is the first leadership apprenticeship at RCAM.
According to the DOL, the apprenticeship benefits are substantial. Companies that use such programs can diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, and receive tax credits.