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Apprentices Help Fill Workforce Needs of QC Companies

John Deere, David Ottavianelli

Local companies need skilled workers, and high school students need career options.

That's where today's Apprentice Signing Day comes in. Michelle O'Neill reports. 

In 2019, Davenport and North Scott high schools started a pilot program with four companies and nine students to prepare them for the workforce.

Credit submitted / John Deere
John Deere
David Ottavianelli, John Deere Director of Strategic Projects and Labor Relations

David Ottavianelli works for John Deere, one of the participating companies, as Director of Strategic Projects and Labor Relations.

He says this year's apprenticeships have grown to include 13 companies, 48 students, and eight high schools. The students got paid while learning to be CNC machinists, certified nursing assistants, IT software engineers, IT security techs, and welders.

The apprenticeships are a result of a workforce study showing that in the future, Quad Cities businesses will not be able to find enough employees to hire with the skills they need.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Black Hawk College provide curricula and certification. Participating high schools include Davenport Central, North, and West, North Scott, Pleasant Valley, Moline, Rock Island, and United Township.   

The graduates will sign job offers at today's QC-Wide High School Registered Apprentice Signing Day at Bettendorf's Waterfront Convention Center.

Credit submitted / John Deere
John Deere
QC Call to Action Apprenticeships flyer

It's the first of three events this week designed to promote apprenticeships.

On Tuesday, April 20th, a free, Zoom meeting will be held called, "A Quad Cites Call to Action" with Mark Perna, author of Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose and Performance in Younger Generations.

He wrote the book to help educators, employers, and parents understand and motivate young people, those he calls the millennial and Z generations. It starts at 7:00 pm HERE.

Then on Wednesday, April 21st, another virtual event will be held entitled, "High School Student Registered Apprentice Programs – a Business Perspective." James Hotchkiss, Community Integration Coordinator at John Deere, will discuss the need for more companies to participate and how they can do so. More information is HERE

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.
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