LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., (second from the left) unveils a banner announcing a new apprenticeship program with the IBBU. Assistant Administrator Mark Wertz (left of Dr. Ballinger), Larry McManamon Jr., coordinator of the Great Lakes Association of Boilermakers Apprenticeship Program (far right) and Martin Mahon, business manager of Boilermakers Local 144 (second from right). Submitted Photo

Special to The Collegian         

Lorain County Community College and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union (IBBU) on Feb. 5 unveiled a new partnership that will provide an apprenticeship pathway to become a skilled boilermaker while earning a college degree.

“There is a great need today in our community for more individuals and apprentices in our trade – and all skilled trades,” said Larry McManamon Jr., coordinator of the Great Lakes Association of Boilermakers Apprenticeship Program and a member of the IBBU. “I am thrilled to be here to celebrate this new college opportunity for boilermakers as well as highlight the value and important role our trade plays in today’s economy.”      

Having multiple pathways for residents to pursue careers leading to in-demand jobs are important and is the reason for the development of this apprenticeship and college degree partnership, he added.

“Partnerships like this allow us to develop innovative models that deliver great benefits to both individuals and employers,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “Individuals earn college credit, real-world experience, industry recognized credentials and gain employment opportunities while employers are able to fill talent gaps.  Apprenticeships create a win-win for all.”

Apprenticeships require individuals to work full-time while participating in classroom instruction, she noted.

Applying from the classroom

“In an apprenticeship program you get to apply what you learn in the classroom and lab into a real work environment. Students become excited about what they are learning, more engaged and they learn the material better,” Ballinger said.

This apprenticeship partnership can benefit students in two ways; one, while working toward earning their journeyman card, an apprentice can be dual-enrolled in the LCCC Associate of Applied Science degree in welding technology. Or a journeyman, after completing his or her apprenticeship, can then enroll at LCCC to complete the balance of the associate degree.

“It’s not easy and not everybody makes it but that’s OK,” said Mark Wertz, assistant administrator of the Boilermakers National of the apprenticeship. “We have to have a high standard of professionalism and skill to meet the demands of our contractors and owners. We put apprentices through the test but once they succeed they do very well in their careers.”

Successful completion of the boilermaker apprenticeship equates to 10 LCCC college courses and 29 LCCC college credits, putting the apprentice halfway to earning the Associate of Applied Science degree in welding technology if they choose to continue on.

Students are prepared to achieve multiple American Welding Society (AWS) certifications. Successfully completing that exam gives them an industry-recognized credential which is also recognized by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) as a 12-point credential that could count toward a high school diploma or its equivalence.

“Following the apprenticeship partnership model can truly be a smart path to a college degree and real-world experience simultaneously,” Ballinger said.

Superintendent of the Keystone Local School District, Dan White, said they were looking for a way to connect students to the skilled trades and this new partnership is one exciting way to do that. “This is a win-win situation for our students and the students of Lorain County,” White said.

Jack Motyka, of North Ridgeville, is a fourth year boilermaker apprentice who is a graduate of the LCCC welding technology program. “The LCCC program was a great experience and integral in the pursuit of my apprenticeship. The knowledge and skills I learned at LCCC gave me an advantage in my apprenticeship,” Motyka said.

For more information about the LCCC IBBU apprenticeship program, call LCCC’s Engineering, Business and Information Technologies division at (440) 366-4005.