Emily Griffith Apprenticeship Partners Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week

News Date: 
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Emily Griffith Technical College is giving its 19 trade apprenticeship partners some extra attention and gratitude as part of the second annual National Apprenticeship Week, November 14-20, 2016. With support from the Emily Griffith Foundation, each partner will receive $500 to use towards start-up costs for apprentices. Several of the training sites, from Denver to the Western Slope, will receive a personal delivery of lunches and sweet treats as a thank you for their valuable partnership.

A list of planned events across Colorado can be found here.

Apprenticeship training plays a critical role in training Colorado’s workforce with the education and credentials necessary to fill the growing demand for a skilled workforce. Emily Griffith Technical College has offered apprenticeship programs since the 1917 with Local 3 Plumbers Union as the first partner. Over the years, Emily Griffith Technical College and its training partners have trained thousands of skilled journeymen in fields like carpentry, plumbing and electricity.

Emily Griffith Technical College started its first apprenticeship program, pipefitting in 1917 and now offers apprenticeships in 14 trades programs, spread around 19 sites in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and the Western Slope. The school currently has about 3,700 students enrolled in these on-the-job high quality training programs that last between three and five years. And, they get paid.

“Many of the fields are short of apprentices,” said Jennifer O’Connor, Emily Griffith Technical College Apprenticeship Manager. “I receive calls all the time from people needing experienced students and graduates in these fields.” Perhaps best of all, students have a great chance to graduate debt-free because a union, contractor or trade association will pay most or all of their tuition and fees.

Gary Arnold, 34, exemplifies the possibilities for those who start their careers with apprenticeships. A pipefitter, he was named “Top Apprentice” in his class four times, worked for many years at Denver’s Murphy Company, started teaching welding, and today is training coordinator for the Denver Pipefitters’ JATC (Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee). “it provided me an honest career with a good, likable wage and a full benefit package,” Arnold said. ‘Through the heart of the recession in 2009 and 2010, I never missed a day of work, didn’t get laid off, because the skills I possess were still in high demand. And you don’t have to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from.”

It’s a great path to establishing a lifelong career and supporting a family, O’Connor said. “You’re earning a wage while you go through that program; when you finish that program, you can test for the journeyman’s license,” she said. The Department of Labor regulates these programs, which typically require a minimum of 144 classroom hours plus 2,000 hours of on-the-job training in a year. For example, a four-year electrician job requires 8,000 hours at work.

“We have been a proud partner and affiliated with multi-craft skilled trades and apprenticeships since our inception,” said Jeff Barratt, executive director of Emily Griffith Technical College. “I think these models will be expanded to develop apprenticeship opportunities in nontraditional areas, such as information technology and health care, as well as youth apprenticeship programs.”

For more information, please contact Ali Sevier at ali.sevier@emilygriffith.edu or 720-423-4776.