Economic Recovery through Apprenticeships, Earn and Learn Programs

Recent months have brought rapid change in nearly every area of life, work, and education. And while it can be easy to focus on the challenges, I find it is important to pivot to the positive. In this age of acceleration, Lorain County Community College is proving to be more adept than ever at serving the evolving needs of the community and our local economy.

A path to economic recovery

One of the many ways we do this is through certified apprenticeships and Earn and Learn models. These customized programs are developed through close partnerships with local industry and allow students to earn a wage and gain job experience while they complete their credentials. As the workforce reels from layoffs brought on by the pandemic, many students cannot afford to delay earning a paycheck while they retrain for a new career and these programs meet that need.

Students post by an ambulance.
Students in Ohio’s first paramedic apprenticeship delivered by LCCC.

LCCC’s employer relationships are especially important in our country’s current financial climate, as many people find themselves needing to retrain for a new career. A recent column in the New York Times highlighted community colleges’ role in economic recovery, with employer partnerships representing a critical piece of the puzzle. Community colleges can and must bridge the gap to train a new workforce, partnering with employers and innovators to train workers for careers that meet local needs and pay good wages. At LCCC, this is one of the things we do best.

Celebrating Manufacturing Month

As we begin Manufacturing Month, LCCC is celebrating more than 20 years of successful apprenticeship programs with local industry, including Ford Motor Co., General Motors and the United Auto Workers union (UAW). We also celebrate many new apprenticeships and Earn and Learn programs that are changing the way students train and the way companies recruit talent. In the past year alone, LCCC has developed new apprenticeships in several manufacturing areas, including masonry technology, pipefitting and boiler making.

Many of our programs connect students to careers with employers in the Lorain County Manufacturing Sector Partnership (LCMSP). This employer-led group is growing the talent pipeline while increasing opportunities for job-seekers. To highlight the many benefits of manufacturing careers, LCCC is partnering with LCMSP for a virtual Manufacturing Month event for students and adults on October 22.

Manufacturing and beyond

Expanding the idea of apprenticeships beyond manufacturing careers is of utmost importance as our region navigates the current economic climate. To best serve additional students and the local economy, LCCC is trailblazing new focus areas for apprenticeships, such as health care and computer information systems. In fact, just this semester LCCC launched Ohio’s first paramedic apprenticeship with LifeCare Ambulance, Inc.  In 2019, we introduced the state’s first State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) apprenticeship.

LCCC is a trailblazer in many areas, and our Earn and Learn model is no different. LCCC delivers Ohio’s first and only microelectronic manufacturing (MEMS) applied bachelor’s degree offered by a community college, as well as associate degree and certificate programs, with paid internships serving as a key component of the curriculum. The college also offers Earn and Learn programs in automation engineering technologies and cyber and information systems. Each program gives students the opportunity to make meaningful connections with local employers who are looking to hire skilled workers, and many students are hired full time by those same employers upon graduation.

Earn and Learn programs can be life-changing experiences for students. MEMS student Corbet Keith landed a full-time job in the MEMS field while still enrolled in his associate degree program. And tool and die apprentice Louis Bernard discovered his passion for learning through LCCC’s partnership with Elyria Plastic Products.

The roots of apprenticeship and manufacturing run deep in Lorain County, and LCCC is proud to help advance manufacturing throughout the 21st century. Through apprenticeships, Earn and Learn, and other partnerships with local employers, we will continue to develop programs that benefit students, businesses, and the local economy.