TMCC Accepted to RACC Apprenticeship Network

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
TMCC Student Demonstrates Lathe Image

A lathe is demonstrated by an ACE/TMCC dual enrollment student, as part of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Open House at the Pennington Applied Technology Center during Spring 2016.

Truckee Meadows Community College has been accepted to the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium (RACC), the first RACC member listed for Nevada.

RACC is a national network of colleges, employers, trade associations and unions that cooperate to increase opportunities for apprentices to complete academic degrees. The network works together—the college members award undergraduate credit for approved apprenticeship programs sponsored by the trade and industry members. RACC is a program of the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship (DOLETA) posts a list of RACC higher education members.

This innovative network is part of the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative begun by President Barack Obama, who launched in July 2014 a plan to increase pathways for Americans into higher-paying, middle class jobs. ApprenticeshipUSA’s purpose is to expand job-training grants and partnerships of employers, community-based organizations and training providers.

“President Obama wanted to nearly double the amount of apprenticeships, because it’s a proven model that gets people working and earning much sooner than many other job pathways,” said Cheryl Olson, Project Director for the Northern Nevada College Apprenticeship Consortium.

TMCC was already partnering with trade organizations and employers in training apprentices before the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative, so it was natural for the College to apply for RACC. Membership in RACC is free.

“RACC is a much more structured way to help grow apprenticeship programs,” Olson said. “The American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant was awarded to TMCC in Fall Semester, followed by our acceptance to RACC in February.”

Western Nevada College (WNC) is also now a RACC member, and that allows the two colleges to collaborate as they develop programs at each institution.

“We’re working together to expand our programs to meet workforce needs—one example is the growing demand for technically trained employees to work in advanced manufacturing,” Olson said.

RACC Benefits Both Employers and Students

Joining RACC enables colleges to better help students transfer their U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship completion certificates toward undergraduate credit at other RACC member schools. The U.S. Department of Labor sets rigorous standards for the certificates that are accepted by all RACC members.

When students complete a Registered Apprenticeship program at TMCC, they receive the completion certificate from the Department of Labor showing their achievement. They then have a more defined way to earn college credit for that experience in any state.

“The certificate is essentially a portable credential.” Olson said.

Apprenticeships also have very high completion percentages.

“Apprenticeship programs have a 97 percent retention rate,” Olson said. “Also, these programs can help students with career advancement opportunities if they want to move up into management.”

Apprenticeship Programs Continue to Grow With the Economy

“The need for apprenticeships is really growing because of the strengthening economy and the need for companies to up-skill employees or have new employees that can be trained in all the specific skills they need,” Olson said.

The U.S. DOL reports the following data:

  • Active apprentices in the U.S. for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 totaled 375,425
  • Active apprentices in the U.S. for FY 2015 totaled 447,929

New training programs can be developed in response to emerging needs of companies locating to Nevada.

“We’re expanding apprenticeship programs and would love to work with employers to develop any additional apprenticeship programs that they would need,” Olson added.

For more information about TMCC’s apprenticeship programs, contact the William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center.