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Student Completes ‘First-Of-Its-Kind’ Apprenticeship In Pella, Iowa – ‘Part Of A New And Expanding Work-Based Educational Program’ In Marion County

Published Tuesday, April 21, 2020
by The Pella (Iowa) Chronicle
Student Completes ‘First-Of-Its-Kind’ Apprenticeship In Pella, Iowa – ‘Part Of A New And Expanding Work-Based Educational Program’ In Marion County

(PELLA, IOWA) - Charles Vander Velden, a 2019 graduate of Pella High School, became the first Registered Apprentice through the Career Academy of Pella, part of a new and expanding work-based educational program in Marion County.

"Thanks to ‘everyone who helped me.’  This was a ‘big’ experience and ‘I'm glad I got to do it,’" Vander Velden said. "I ‘already liked to weld, but now I have a job I like, an education and a nice paycheck.’  ‘I'd recommend it to anyone.’"

In 2018, Vander Velden signed a registration agreement to pilot the program outlined in a new Registered Apprenticeship Playbook commissioned by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and supported by the Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

The Playbook was developed as a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor, Vermeer Corporation and the Career Academy of Pella.

The signing took place in the presence of Governor Reynolds, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg, a 2006 Central College graduate, and then-U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

"Registered Apprenticeships ‘are a proven solution to expand’ economic opportunities for Iowans, and Charles ‘is a pioneer showing how students can pursue this great career path starting in high school,’" Governor Reynolds said. "Congratulations to Charles for completing a nationally-recognized welding credential ‘that exemplifies what Future Ready Iowa is all about.’ A ‘heartfelt thank you’ to Vermeer Corporation, the Career Academy of Pella and many other partners ‘for recognizing’ Registered Apprenticeships ‘are an investment in our residents that also strengthens our communities.’"

In completing the Apprenticeship competency requirements through his work at Vermeer Corporation, Vander Velden has a nationally recognized, portable credential that signifies to employers that he is qualified for the job.

Throughout his Apprenticeship, Vander Velden has enjoyed employment and benefits from Vermeer and earned post-secondary academic credit for on-the-job training he can apply toward a degree.

He has been working toward an Associate Degree in Technical Studies from Des Moines Area Community College, all unique advantages of this earn-while-you-learn model.

Vander Velden officially joined the Vermeer team as a full-time Welder on April 1st.

"High School Registered Apprenticeship Programs ‘combine work-based, on-the-job learning with relevant technical education in the classroom,’" said Greer Sisson, who serves as State Director for the U.S. Department of Labor.

"(They) ‘allow’ schools ‘to find new ways to engage students that connects careers with post-secondary education, skilled certifications and employment, increasing the potential for success during and after high school.’  High school Registered Apprenticeships ‘benefit’ businesses ‘as well by providing a fresh source of talent developed from within their community and access to a larger talent pool.’  ‘It is a win for everyone,’" he said.

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