Initiative designed to pair classroom learning with on-the-job training

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SWIC announces apprenticeship initiative designed to pair classroom learning with on-the-job training

Just in time for National Apprenticeship Week 2021, Nov. 15-19, Southwestern Illinois College has earned its certificate of registration in the U. S. Department of Labor’s National Apprenticeship Program. As a registered apprenticeship sponsor, SWIC will be able to help employers in the region develop apprenticeship programs to serve their hiring needs with a minimum of red tape.

A registered apprenticeship is the gold standard of workforce development, combining on-the-job training with related classroom instruction and attention to “soft” skills such as leadership, cooperation, teamwork, and work ethic.  

“Apprenticeship really has something for everyone, and that’s what makes it such an attractive workforce strategy,” said Mike Conley, SWIC’s director of workforce development and career pathways. “Employers improve recruitment and retention, and boost productivity. Employees have opportunities for high-wage careers, and educational institutions help reinforce the imperative of high-quality training.”

The commitment from employers helps build greater loyalty, job satisfaction, and a sense of accountability. Employees have access to proven training methods in both the technical skills of a career and the specific requirements of an individual company.

The college’s role in the process, Conley explained, is both as a training provider and a facilitator for apprenticeship programs, especially for small companies that may not have the resources to build their own programs. 

SWIC will coordinate apprenticeship programs in the occupations of General Machinist, Shipping and Receiving Clerk, Dock Worker (warehousing), Welder, Pharmacist Assistant, and Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Conley emphasized that the college will likely expand that list significantly in the future, based on demand from employers. Being a registered sponsor means the college also has access to the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Management Data System and its resources.

 “Statistically, 94 percent of apprentices continue to work for the same company after the apprenticeship has ended,” Conley said. “More than 90 percent of companies who have tried apprenticeship would recommend it to their peers.”

Successful apprenticeship programs are being launched throughout the nation in fields as varied as manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, insurance and financial services, hospitality, and retail trade, among others.

“U.S. businesses are enjoying record demand for their services and products, but they can’t maintain enough supply to satisfy it, and a big reason for that is a lack of human capital,” Conley said. “Apprenticeship is simply the most effective way to meet the workforce needs as well as the demand for services and products.”

A list of resources and events for the week is available at

For more information about SWIC apprenticeship programs, contact Conley at 618-235-2700, ext. 5139, or