A local bee keeper has started working with an apprentice, thanks to a new state program. Last summer, an employee of Iowa WORKS in Davenport approached Phil Crandall, President of Crandall Farms in Coal Valley, as he was selling honey at the Freight House farmers market.
The employee, Martha Garcia-Tappa, asked if he'd be interested in starting a "Master Bee Keeper Registered Apprenticeship Program."
To make a long story short, Ben Westerman from Missouri applied and got the job. After graduating with a double major in biology and wildlife ecology, Crandall says Westerman arrived last week, and they started working with bees within an hour.
Westerman is required to spend five hours per week learning about bees without actually working with the hives. Crandall says his apprentice will also attend a few conferences or workshops during the three year program.
The IowaWORKS and US Labor Department apprenticeship is a paid position and features employer training plus on-the-job learning and classroom instruction. Crandall retired a few years ago, and his hope is people will eventually call and ask for Ben when they have questions about bees.
More information about Registered Apprenticeship Programs is HERE.