LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gaining access to an affordable education and a hands-on, in-the-field apprenticeship have been made possible through the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) Training Center in Louisville.
Out of the approximate 35,000 IKORCC members throughout the three-state span, 5,000 millwrights, carpenters and floor coverers live and work in Kentucky, and the Louisville Training Center is home to nearly 500 apprentices working in the field.
The 100,000 square foot training center – recently visited by elected Kentucky representatives and senators on a tour that was led by instructor Hope Harp – offers a four-year apprenticeship program where students spend a minimal amount of time in the classroom – they are required to attend week-long classes four times per year – and a bulk of their time being trained and mentored by experienced journeypersons on job sites. While on the job, students are compensated for their work.
Out-of-pocket expenses for the students are also kept to a minimum, averaging about $100 annually for text books.
Apprentices in carpentry, millwright work and floor covering who complete the four-year program graduate with an associate’s degree in Applied Science from Ivy Tech State College, an education valued around $17,000, and hit the ground running with a career as a journeyman.
Graduates can further their education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree through an established educational facility with an apprenticeship program. Other graduates have obtained high-level and advanced manufacturing positions at Fortune 500 companies, including Ford and GE.
“Apprentices are the future of our industry, and it’s so important they have access to the right resources and education,” commented Richard Fouts, Senior Manager of the IKORCC. “The Louisville Training Center apprenticeship program is a one-of-a-kind program that offers students an invaluable experience that couldn’t be taught in the classroom. We’re starting to notice a deficit in the workforce due to older generation retiring or leaving, and projects that used to take 12 weeks are taking 20 weeks to complete. That’s why it’s so important to educate the younger generation and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed.”
Individuals seeking to become an apprentice through the Louisville Training Center program are required to have a high school diploma or GED and must pass a written exam distributed by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and interview at the training facility. For direct access into the program, veterans can go through the Helmets to Hardhats program. The Training Center also recruits through various minority organizations, including the Bridges to Opportunities Workforce Training Program, the Youthbuild Louisville Program, Job Corps and SkillsUSA Kentucky.
The training center also offers continuing education for current IKORCC members seeking to improve skills and abilities.