Mancini Speaks of Building Futures & Apprenticeship RI

This week in the Providence Journal, Building Futures Board Chair Gregory Mancini published an Op Ed celebrating Building Futures’ 10-year success as a pre-apprenticeship program in the building trades, Mancini outlines Building Futures history and how they secured the resources to establish Apprenticeship Rhode Island – a partnership with Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training to build the capacity of the apprenticeship system and help employers launch apprenticeships outside of the construction trades. 

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Do you really need a Bachelor’s degree to do that?

The rise in jobs that require higher education is real.  But do all those jobs you post with “Bachelor’s degree required” really use that college education and hold the interest of a college graduate?   For starters, Carnevale et al. at the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce found 44% of “college job openings” in Rhode Island are below the Bachelor’s level.  Second, the apprenticeship model helps employers separate and unpack what employees need to get started from what education level they need to grow their career with the firm. 

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The New Face of Apprenticeship

With so few qualified biomedical equipment technicians and healthcare IT specialists on the job market, Claflin Medical Equipment and Claflin Company are taking charge by launching custom-designed apprenticeship programs.  Claflin Medical Equipment, a support and services provider of medical equipment, and Claflin Company, a medical supplies distributor, hired 5 apprentices in programs that will prepare them to be Biomedical Equipment Technicians and Data Scientists.  Both Apprenticeships are three-years in length and combine full-time employment with coursework at CCRI leading to a college degree as well as national certifications.

Claflin’s Data Scientists are cross trained in managing the intersection of IT and healthcare business operations.  They install hardware and network equipment as well as supporting software applications.   Biomedical equipment technicians maintain and repair a wide range of medical equipment in hospital and clinical settings.  “Apprenticeship is a game changer for tech-talent acquisition, with it we can close the skills gap”, said Eric Robinson, Director of Operations for Claflin Medical Equipment. “It allows us to broaden our recruitment strategy beyond those applicants that happen to arrive at our door fully qualified, credentialed, and experienced in the field; instead, we can grow our own talent base, groomed exactly as we need them to be through the right combination of education and on-the-job experience.”

“Real Jobs grants are designed to flexibly meet the needs of Rhode Island employers.” said Director Scott Jensen of the RI Department of Labor and Training. “Since Registered Apprenticeship is the ultimate employer-driven workforce training strategy, it made perfect sense to support this effort with Real Jobs funding.”

Year Up provides the perfect recruitment pipeline, providing the career readiness and coursework necessary to be hired into Claflin’s apprenticeship programs.  “We are incredibly pleased with the performance of Year Up graduates as our first Data Scientist Apprentices” says Michael Oliver, Chief Information Officer.

And what about the apprentices themselves?   Kevin Sun, of Warwick says: “Through my apprenticeship at Claflin, I can see a future for myself.”  Fernando Ruiz, of Providence echoes those feelings: “My apprenticeship at Claflin feels like a career, not just a job.”

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