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TBR and TDLWD kickoff National Apprenticeship Week during signing day

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 04:00pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) marked National Apprenticeship Week Wednesday during signing day for 23 HVAC apprentices in Nashville.

Employees with Interstate AC and Merryman-Farr signed letters of commitment to the apprenticeship program during the event. Signing day signals the start of a work-based learning program that will end with each apprentice becoming certified in HVAC installation and repair.

These apprentices work full-time during their apprenticeships, earning wages while acquiring on-the-job training in the HVAC field. After their workday is over, the apprentices attend class twice a week at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville.

TBR Executive Vice Chancellor Russ Deaton thanked at apprentices and members of the public-private partnership who made the program possible.

“Commissioner McCord and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development are tremendous partners of our colleges in developing a strong workforce for our state,” Deaton said. “Apprenticeship programs have a long and effective history and we’re proud to add them to our many work-based learning opportunities. They are good for student apprentices and they’re good for Tennessee.”

Many Tennessee companies have a difficult time recruiting skilled employees to fill the positions of exiting or retiring employees. Gov. Bill Lee made work-based learning a priority, and programs like apprenticeships can help increase the number of technically skilled individuals across the state.

“Apprenticeship is a tried and true method to develop and maintain qualified employees,” said TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “This Department is excited to participate in these types of public-private partnerships to advance workforce development across our state.”

Apprentices earn while they learn, and for most apprentices in Tennessee, they gain their education without paying tuition. At the end of their apprenticeship, not only do they have new careers, but they also have little or no student loan debt.

The state of Tennessee will unveil a new statewide apprenticeship initiative in 2020. Seven state agencies will work together on the Apprenticeship TN program. This partnership will combine all of the state's resources to create the most efficient and effective method to increase the number of apprentices in Tennessee and the number of employers supporting apprenticeship programs.