Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced plans for an apprenticeship program, starting in 2019, to fill electrical, plumbing and HVAC-R jobs in Howard County. Howard County is among a handful of jurisdictions that recently earned approval from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) to use registered apprenticeships to attract skilled workers in needed employment areas.
According to a press release:
“Howard County, among other jurisdictions, is losing some of its best tradespeople in the workforce to attrition and retirement,” said Kittleman. “Before those skills and expertise are gone, we hope to help transfer those abilities to a new generation of electricians, plumbers and HVAC-R technicians. These are solid career paths that will always be needed in the government sector.”
DLLR Secretary Kelly M. Schulz shared that, “Maryland’s local governments are discovering what many of our businesses have known for decades. Registered apprenticeship is a great way to build your workforce, whether you are in the private or public sector.”
The three apprenticeships being developed in Howard County for July of 2019 are full-time, paid positions with benefits. Candidates in the 4-year program also will attend trade school for free with 144 classroom hours per year, as well as complete 2,000 on-the-job training hours, in exchange for a commitment to remain employed with the county for at least two years after the program.
“It is increasingly difficult to compete with the private sector for skilled tradespeople and the technology and energy-efficiency standards are constantly evolving and improving,” said Jim Irvin, Director of the Department of Public Works. “We are looking to develop our own talent to help us keep county facilities operating safely and effectively for our residents, visitors and co-workers.”
Apprentices will mainly work for the Bureaus of Facilities, Utilities and Environmental Services within the Department of Public Works to maintain more than 2.5 million square feet of county government facilities among 172 buildings. Assignments will span residential maintenance at county-owned properties, commercial operations at county office buildings and industrial settings like wastewater treatment facilities and the landfill. The candidates will be overseen and trained by master tradespeople associated with AFSCME 3085, the local Howard County trade union for public employees of the Department of Public Works.
The positions are included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget and are expected to be filled in July of 2019. Details of the policies and procedures for the program are expected to be finalized prior to the end of 2018.
Read the full press release for more information.