Chafee launches state’s first manufacturing apprenticeship
GOV. LINCOLN D. CHAFEE announced on Thursday a new CNC machinist apprenticeship program, the first registered manufacturing apprenticeship in the state. The program will provide 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training concurrent with education through the Community College of Rhode Island.
WARWICK – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee formally approved a new apprenticeship program for computer numerical control operators at the annual meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Board at the Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick hotel Thursday morning.
CNC equipment is used to drill, cut and shape goods used in industries ranging from automotive to aerospace. Rhode Island manufacturers have said they have CNC jobs available that remain vacant for lack of skilled workers to fill the positions.
The CNC Machinist Registered Apprenticeship is the state’s first registered apprenticeship for manufacturing in Rhode Island, and the first time general revenue funding is being used specifically for workforce development.
Up to $150,000 was allocated as part of the governor’s fiscal year 2014 budget to develop non-traditional apprenticeship programs that include classroom curriculum, on-the-job training and sponsors, which are single employers, multi-employer consortia or unions.
“This apprenticeship program will allow participants to work while they learn, and also require businesses to be involved in both the design and the delivery of skills training,” Chafee said in a statement.
The program will provide 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training concurrent with education through the Community College of Rhode Island, said Ruth Gobeille, Polaris communications manager, after the meeting.
Seven employers participated in designing the program, and as of June 15, the program will be open to any employers who want to participate. When a manufacturing employer registers to participate, their company’s program will begin.
CCRI will kick off the educational component with a boot camp that starts Monday; 16 students are enrolled already, and the class is full, Gobeille said.
House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Sen. Erin P. Lynch praised “high quality apprenticeships” such as this one.
“It is critical that we provide potential employers with the education and training skills that will prepare them for the jobs of the future,” Mattiello said in a statement. “I share the commitment of the Governor’s Workforce Board to get people back to work through programs such as this one.”
Chafee also presented the GWB Innovation Award to Tunstall Americas, based in Pawtucket, for its commitment to workforce development. Tunstall Americas has participated in on-the-job training, the Work Immersion program and the Incumbent Worker Training program, resulting in more than 300 Rhode Island jobs.