FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)-After a shortage in filling construction-related occupations, one Indiana company hopes to make a change.
The Jack Laurie Group has partnered with Associated Builders and Contractors to offer one of the country's only merit shop floor covering apprenticeship program.
With a workforce shortage in the construction industry, the state's largest commercial flooring and interiors contractor created an apprenticeship program to help produce people with more skills in the flooring industry.
"It gives them the opportunity to grow in a way that a lot of them don't have the chance to, " says Field Superintendent Mike Keller.
The four-year program is based in both Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, allows students to graduate with an associate's degree from Vincenne's University, recieve paid on-the-job training, and more.
According to Keller, "[Students get] 144 hours of classroom, lab and field trips. At the end of the 4 years, they will receive a journeyman's card from the Associated Builders and Contractors which is valid across the United States. "
Keller says the program was created to better prepare employees who were lacking basic skills.
"I want to build on that and take them through not just the how but the why and what makes a quality installation that will last the customer a lifetime of their product."
So far, the students are Jack Laurie Group employees. He hopes the apprenticeship will make an impact on the local economy.
"It starts with a core curriculum which teaches OSHA basics ,communications, teaches professionalism,and other soft skills related to the workforce. The second part of the first year is the carpeting program, " says Keller.
The average journeyman at JLC makes about $50,000/year and starts with a minimum of $18 an hour.