Collinsville, Illinois – November 16, 2021 – Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 signed an agreement this morning with the City of Collinsville to begin a registered apprenticeship program with training through the Gateway Convention Center and Collinsville Parks & Recreation Department.
Collinsville’s initiative is the first US Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program in the area for high school students with disabilities.
The program, which will benefit high school students with disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood and the workplace, was unveiled this morning during the Apprenticeship Roundtable Event hosted by Madison County Employment & Training and St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department – Workforce Development Group at Gateway Center in Collinsville.
Collinsville High School (CHS) students, who are 16+ and developmentally ready to begin the transition from school to work, will have training opportunities through the City of Collinsville in housekeeping and events support (Gateway Center) and landscaping (Parks & Recreation).
“The use of registered apprenticeship to train students from the Collinsville School District will lead to employment opportunities that benefit the City of Collinsville by offering a source of continuing talent during a period of labor force shortage, and will benefit the students by giving them the exact skills necessary for employment,” said Lee Reese, Regional Apprenticeship Navigator for St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department Workforce Development Group.
“Transition planning for students with disabilities is a vital component of special education programming in preparing young adults for independence after high school. This new registered apprenticeship program expands the current transition opportunities for our students in an inclusive setting within their own community,” according to CUSD 10 Director of Special Education Alison Underwood.
“The collaboration with the City of Collinsville is not only ideal for students to become proficient in skills that will benefit them no matter where they go in their future endeavors, but will also benefit the community as a whole during a time when so many businesses are struggling to fill open positions. We could not be more excited to work together with the City to provide these authentic experiences for our students,” said Underwood.
As the student-apprentices progress through a series of demonstrated competencies, they earn their way toward certification. The amount of time required to complete the process will vary based on each student’s ability to become proficient in required skills. In the end, the student receives a Department of Labor credential that is recognized anywhere in the United States.
“This apprenticeship is an amazing opportunity for our co-op students to learn on the job training and skills they need to be successful in the community. They will acquire an apprenticeship certification which is absolutely amazing for them and their future,” said CHS Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) coordinator Catherine Kulupka.
“This partnership between the City and CUSD #10 is incredibly exciting for the City as it gives our community’s youth a head start on gaining the skills to enter the workforce and make a meaningful contribution” said Collinsville City Manager Mitchell Bair. “The program also provides a homegrown employee source for critical positions in the city that are proving increasingly difficult to fill. Knowing that this program will make a significant positive impact in these young people’s lives is very exciting.”
“This program is truly a win for everyone involved: the city, the school district, the students and the community as a whole,” said Director of Madison County Employment and Training Development Tony Fuhrmann. “This program will help prepare students that are many times forgotten for jobs as they enter adulthood, and make them self-reliant, active members of the community.”
The Apprenticeship Roundtable at the Gateway Center was held in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week in Illinois (November 15-19, 2021). The event brought together educators, businesses, workforce development entities, elected officials and the general public to discuss the use of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in the region.
For more information on apprenticeship, visit Apprenticeship Illinois.
KeShawn Taylor was the first graduate of the registered apprenticeship training program. Following his apprenticeship, he received a certificate and was hired by the City of Collinsville Parks & Recreation Department in a landscaping position.
March 5, 2023
Special Education Director Alison Underwood appears on Fox 2 Pulse of St. Louis to discuss the program. Click HERE to watch the broadcast.