Meridian recently hosted a signing ceremony to celebrate the launch of the Automotive Mechanic Registered Apprenticeship program.
Janzen Toyota and Stillwater Automotive are the first two businesses to partner with Meridian to offer this program. Representatives from both companies signed agreements during the ceremony. Bob Couse, State Director at United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships, also joined the signing.
“We really appreciate the Tech system,” said Lonnie Daugherty, owner of Stillwater Automotive. “[Registered Apprenticeships] give us a tool to start a young employee in the business then teach and grow them.”
U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Programs are an industry-driven career pathway to develop the workforce. Apprenticeships increase the number of skilled employees entering the labor market and provide a faster track to employment.
Meridian now has three Registered Apprenticeship programs with a combined total of 24 participants enrolled and 16 partnered businesses. The sponsored occupations are Heating and Air Conditioning Installation/Service, Automobile Body Repairer and Automobile Mechanic.
“We are able to increase our training capacity and meet the needs of our stakeholders faster through the apprenticeship training model,” Apprenticeship Coordinator Joe Steele said. “We partner with employers to assist with the logistics of Registered Apprenticeship Programs, while providing the training their employees need to succeed. Students can work full time while learning and earning credentials. In turn, businesses can access a diverse talent pool at any time before they are completely trained or use this model to upskill their current employees.”
RAPs meet specific requirements from the U.S. Department of Labor and may qualify for state funding through Oklahoma Commerce. This makes it easier for businesses to upskill employees and grow their business. Apprenticeships also allow employers flexible access to a diverse talent pool and reduce turnover while offering opportunities to train employees.
“The training is very customizable,” said Eric Reeves, an Automotive Technology Instructor. “Employers let us know what they need, and we build the program around that while also addressing core competencies.”
Employees also get the opportunity to earn while they learn and obtain industry-specific credentials and technical training that allows them to grow their career.
“There’s a lot of flexibility and different ways to enter this program,” Reeves said. “There isn’t a specific time of year that they need to start. Employers can even hire students before they graduate and know that they will be fully qualified by the end.”
Meridian first launched RAPs in January 2023 and the program has seen a lot of interest from both employers and employees.
“The program has grown faster than we ever thought possible,” said Steele. “The initial goal was to launch one program in 2023, and we are already up to three. There is a lot of interest in creating more.”
For more information about Meridian’s Registered Apprenticeships contact Joe Steele at email@example.com or 405.377.3048.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, workforce and economic development assistance and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. The school has locations in Stillwater and Guthrie. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.