Governor Lee visits state’s first U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program at Gestamp
Posted on 02/01/2019
Photo Bottom: Students with Governor Bill Lee, (Pictured L to R): Michael Essex, Red Bank High; Joshuah Maddox, Hamilton County High; Justin Kelley, Hamilton County High; and Sherod Mitchell, Tyner AcademyNew Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has been in office less than a month and one of his first visits involving education is to Hamilton County Schools to see the apprenticeship partnership between Hamilton County Schools and Gestamp. The work-based learning program is the first in Tennessee to earn the U.S. Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship designation. The program is now a registered apprenticeship in advanced manufacturing that allows high school students to get a full-day work-based learning experience while also completing their education. Students take online academic classes in a computer lab at Gestamp and get actual work experience during the school day in the Gestamp plant.

Governor Lee met with Hamilton County Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson this afternoon at the Gestamp site to learn more about the career technical program that is preparing teens for success after high school. The Gestamp apprenticeship is one of many ways Hamilton County Schools is partnering with business and industry to produce graduates who are future ready.

“Gestamp has been amazing to partner with on this journey to provide students with practical work experience in a high demand field,” said Heidi King, Gestamp work-based learning coordinator for Hamilton County Schools. “The registered apprenticeship takes the value of the program to the next level by allowing graduates to add a recognized industry credential to their resume.”

Registered apprenticeship training is different from other types of work-study programs because participants earn pay during training, the programs must meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor, and the training results in the student earning an industry-recognized credential. Students also get on-the-job learning with job-related technical instruction and experience at the work site.

King said. “This program gives students hope for a career path after high school performing maintenance on robots, working on the line, or even going into engineering.”

“I love this program because it is different,” said Devin Jones, a junior from Central High School in the Gestamp program. “We have all of our classes online so we can work at our own pace in completing our work.” Jones plans to use the flexibility to graduate early in the spring. “I am looking forward to getting started on my career,” Jones added.

The Gestamp work-based learning apprenticeship program fits with the goals of Hamilton County Schools in the Future Ready 2023 five-year action plan. Preparing students for college and career is a goal in Future Ready 2023 just as creating pathways to help students be more successful after high school is a goal of the Gestamp program. Students completing the program and earning industry certification will help the district meet the key performance indicator of students earning industry certifications or taking advanced coursework listed in the action plan.

Hamilton County Schools will start five Advanced Manufacturing programs next school year, including a new partnership with Chattanooga State involving TCAT and Advanced Manufacturing Production Assistant (AMPA) programs at Brainerd High and Lookout Valley Middle/High with help from Chattanooga 2.0 and a Chase Morgan grant.

Applications opened today for 27 Future Ready Institutes in 13 high schools across the school district. Over 50 organizations representing business, higher education, and non-profits in the community are participating in these career themed schools within schools. Unum, EPB, Erlanger, UTC and Bryan College have signed on as branded partners in the Future Ready Institutes to provide business expertise, work experiences and academic support to programs. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce helped to develop four industry councils to advise the career programs providing pathways to future success for students.

Photo Bottom: Students with Governor Bill Lee, (Pictured L to R): Michael Essex, Red Bank High; Joshuah Maddox, Hamilton County High; Justin Kelley, Hamilton County High; and Sherod Mitchell, Tyner Academy