Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship
Jan. 16, 2019 - Apprenticeship program now underway at GOCAT
A SIGNING EVENT was held by Missouri State University-West Plains for its new Industrial
Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship program at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced
Technology (GOCAT). On hand were, front row from left, Jim Hart, assistant professor
of computer information systems/computer graphics and programming at Missouri State-West
Plains; Sheila Barton, Missouri State-West Plains project manager at GOCAT; Ivan Tucker,
plant manager, Timberland; Nancy Case, human resources, Timberland; Ingrid McCallister,
human resources, Jasper; Vanae Emerick, executive director, South Central Workforce
Investment Board (SCWIB); Chrisy Barnes, manufacturing engineer III, Regal; and Garland
Barton, human resources, DRS. Back row from left: Timberland apprentice McKenzie Propst,
West Plains; Adam Bjorgaard, maintenance supervisor, Timberland; Jasper apprentices
Harley Curtis, Birch Tree, and Zach Gregory, Bucyrus; Suzanne Cooley, human resources,
Regal; Regal apprentice Mason Mitchell, Thayer; James Ray, facilities supervisor,
DRS; DRS apprentice Dustin Howell, Thayer; and Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic
affairs at Missouri State-West Plains.
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri State University-West Plains hosted a signing event Monday for five students
in the first cohort of the Industrial Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship program
at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) in West Plains. A project
two years in the making, this marks Missouri State-West Plains’ first venture into
U.S. Department of Labor certified registered apprenticeships.
Funded through a Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Grant from the Missouri Economic
Development Division of Workforce Development, it brings together a coalition consisting
of Missouri State-West Plains, GOCAT, the South Central Workforce Investment Board
(SCWIB), the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Registered
Apprenticeship Program, the U.S. Department of Labor, and four local businesses.
“This initial offering of apprenticeships by Missouri State-West Plains through our
GOCAT initiative is an important step in the evolution of our workforce development
program here at the University and in our region,” said Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean
of academic affairs at Missouri State-West Plains.
“While this is a new idea for us, the use of apprenticeships to develop highly skilled
workers is definitely not a new idea in Europe, where this is the norm and not the
exception. Our venture into this specialized student-worker training brings all of
our partners even closer as we strive to meet the worker and skills-development demands
of our area,” he added. The apprentices will be seeking the 24-credit hour Industrial
Maintenance Technician certificate and will complete their training in September.
The overall Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship is a layered two-year program that
consists of related academic instruction and on-the-job training with mentors at each
of the designated companies. The apprentices will be trained in various areas of maintenance
and required to meet competencies in order to gain credentialing from the U.S. Department
“A registered apprenticeship is an earn-and-learn program where a student is employed
by a company and earning a paycheck throughout their educational and on the job training.
At the end of the apprenticeship, they will receive college credit and an industry
issued, nationally recognized credential,” said Sheila Barton, Missouri State-West
Plains project manager at GOCAT.
“As an educational institution, empowering our students to enhance their skills and
develop careers is what we do,” she added. “Being the educational component of an
apprenticeship provides a perfect partnership for training the current workers who
need technology-focused skills as industries become more automated.” All candidates
were selected through a pre-screening and interview process by the participating companies:
- Jasper Engines and Transmissions, sponsoring Zach Gregory, Bucyrus, and Harley Curtis,
- Leonardo-DRS, sponsoring Dustin Howell, Thayer
- Regal Beloit, sponsoring Mason Mitchell, Thayer
- Timberland Forest Products, sponsoring McKenzie Propst, West Plains
The partnering companies will provide the work experience to ensure professional skills
while Missouri State-West Plains provides classroom training. The eight-week blocks
of coursework over a period of one year, in conjunction with on-the-job training to
refine the skills they have acquired, will earn a guaranteed starting pay up to $13.00
with incremental increases as they meet specific milestones throughout the apprenticeship.
For information contact Barton at 417-255-7784 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Roy Crouch, Missouri State-West Plains education/outreach specialist at GOCAT,
Missouri State University-West Plains empowers students to achieve personal success
and to enrich their local and global communities by providing accessible, affordable
and quality educational opportunities. Missouri State-West Plains offers associate
degrees and credit and non-credit courses, and serves as a delivery site for bachelor’s
and master’s degrees offered by Missouri State University in Springfield.