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The Apprenticeship Program at NMC (March 19, 2012)

The Northern Marianas College has received many inquiries regarding the increasing popularity of its Apprenticeship Training Program.

In an effort to increase awareness about the program and its benefits, the College emphasized today that Apprenticeship Training Program is an earn-while-you-learn program that focuses on on-the-job training provided by employers combined with related classroom instruction provided by NMC.

The College also indicated that employer standards are developed and used as the training manual of apprentices for the duration of their occupation-in-training. Apprenticeship program staff assists in the development of employer standards to ensure compliance with federal guidelines.

Upon entering the apprenticeship program, an apprentice works a regular workweek with the employer and attends related classroom instruction on a regular, scheduled basis. To ensure program requirements are met and completed, the on-the-job training hours are maintained by the employer, while the related instruction is maintained online by NMC. When apprentices complete the required on-the-job training hours and the classroom instructional hours, they gain a certificate of completion from the U.S. Apprenticeship Program through the US Department of Labor.

Apprentices are required to attend 144 hours of classroom or online instruction per year in their chosen occupation. Prescribed, related courses are identified for each occupation in the employer’s standards. Apprentices register for the related instruction to augment skills learned on the job in their occupation.

The length of time for apprenticeship training depends upon the skilled occupation involved, but would normally vary from two (2) years to four (4) years. For example, an office manager/administrative services apprentice must achieve 4,000 on-the-job training hours and complete a minimum of 288 classroom instructional hours to receive a certificate of completion from the US Department of Labor. In contrast, a telecommunication technician must achieve 8,000 on-the-job training hours and complete a minimum of 576 classroom instructional hours to receive a certificate of completion.

The benefits of Apprenticeship Training for employers include: 1) Employers who train apprentices invest in their business future and avoid skill shortages, 2) Employers know that better trained employees affect the bottom dollar: skilled employees take less time to produce results, and 3) Employers who train apprentices promote corporate citizenship by supporting a valuable training program.

Currently, NMC has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CNMI Government, coordinated with the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship in Hawaii, to implement the apprenticeship programs.

The College added that the NMC U.S. Apprenticeship program will build the local workforce by stimulating, encouraging and assisting local industries in the development and expansion of apprenticeship and training.

NMC is encouraging members of the business community to contact the College with its specific workforce needs so it can work to facilitate an apprentice arrangement. Please contact Geri Willis by calling 234-5498 ext 1028 (or by cell: 287-2004) or email [email protected].

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