Transportation Cabinet revs up new apprenticeship program for future mechanics

Beginning this fall, students enrolled in an automotive or diesel technology program with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) can apply to gain paid, hands-on experience with local Department of Highways maintenance garages through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) new Transportation Mechanic Apprenticeship Program (TMAP).

As the state’s first automotive technician apprenticeship program registered with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Apprenticeship (and one of only two such programs in the Commonwealth listed with the Labor Cabinet), TMAP presents a unique opportunity for high school graduates entering the workforce and for individuals seeking a new career pathway.

“Partnering with KCTCS to provide an automotive technician apprenticeship program benefits Kentucky’s workforce and assists our KYTC mission,” said Transportation Sec. Greg Thomas. “TMAP apprentices will help maintain and repair the equipment our road crews use to provide a safe and reliable transportation system for all who travel Kentucky’s roadways. TMAP also offers opportunities for Kentuckians to improve their quality of life through practical training as they work toward their associate’s degree.”

Whether apprentices continue their career with KYTC after graduating the program or decide to pursue an automotive position elsewhere, they will have a nationally recognized certification to present to future employers.

The Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2024 (for years 2014-2024) indicates an 11.5 percent increase in demand for automotive service technicians and mechanics and a 22.5 percent increase for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. Currently, KYTC has a demand for individuals across Kentucky who possess the skills specific to those trades.

“Under the Labor Cabinet’s ‘Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.’ initiative, our goal is to increase apprenticeship programs and expand the variety of trades represented to meet workforce goals throughout the state,” said Labor Sec. Derrick Ramsey. “The demand for highly skilled laborers isn’t exclusive to the private sector; public agencies need employees with specialized skill sets as well.”

To be considered for KYTC’s TMAP, an individual must be at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver’s license, have an acceptable criminal record report and be enrolled in an automotive or diesel technology program through KCTCS. Interested TMAP candidates can take advantage of the close proximity of hands-on training and educational opportunities.

“The statewide availability of KYTC’s apprenticeship program locations offers Kentuckians seeking a career the convenience of not having to commute long distances,” said Ramona Brock, KYTC apprenticeship program coordinator. “Transportation maintenance garages are located in all 12 districts, and KCTCS provides an automotive program in every district and a diesel technology program in nine of the 12 districts.”

Apprentices participating in TMAP will gain 2,000 hours of combined coursework and hands-on experience over a period of two years and will be subject to a four-month probationary period. Work ethic and willingness to learn and take direction are necessary for satisfactory completion of the program. TMAP apprentices will receive increasing pay opportunities, starting at $9.50 per hour and potentially advancing to $14.42 upon graduating. After satisfactorily completing TMAP, graduates will receive a nationally recognized credential in addition to their two-year college degree.

KYTC’s Transportation Mechanic Apprenticeship Program meets national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Apprenticeship.

TMAP candidates can access additional information about the program and download an application at http://transportation.ky.gov/Education or can email Ramona.Brock@ky.gov. The deadline to submit a TMAP application is Sept. 15.

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