IN FOCUS Discussion: Apprenticeship programs in Utah

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Many Utah businesses, especially those in manufacturing and construction are facing labor shortages when trying to hire skilled tradespeople, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Apprenticeships, which consists of paid on-the-job training and instruction in a certain trade or profession, can address this issue and establish workers in lucrative and in-demand careers.

Currently, Utah DWS reports there are more than 4,200 active apprentices in Utah, 265 registered apprenticeship programs across the state, $300,000 more earned by apprentices over their career than non-apprenticeship participants, and a 94 percent retention rate of employees who complete an apprenticeship program nationally.

Metalcraft Technologies in Cedar City is one of the businesses that is benefiting from this program. As an aerospace component manufacturer, the company was looking for a way to clarify the career paths available within the company while improving its employee retention. The company started its registered apprenticeship partnership with the Utah Department of Workforce Services back in June and hired their first machinist apprentice.

Melisa Stark, commissioner of apprenticeship programs for the Utah Department of Workforce Services joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion. She talked about her role with the state, how participants benefit from apprenticeship programs, the industries that are involved with the state’s apprenticeships, how she’s personally seen the benefits of the training and instruction, how these programs can help address the state’s labor shortage, and where she would like to see this program develop in the next few years.

Dillon Murray, machinist apprentice for Metalcraft shared what sparked his interest in this industry, how programs at his high school helped him get started in this career, his apprenticeship, the instruction portion of the program, what happens after he finishes his requirements, and his words of advice and encouragement to other young adults considering apprenticeships.

Jason Morrill, apprentice mentor and journeyman machinist at Metalcraft discussed his work experience in the industry, what prompted his business to start its apprenticeship program, his role as a mentor and the progress he’s seen from his apprentice, how the program helps businesses spark interest among job candidates and improve employee retention, what’s next for their partnership with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, and why he encourages others companies to register their own apprenticeship programs.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Stark, Murray, and Morrill, click on the video at the top of the article.

For more information, visit the Utah Department of Workforce Services website on Apprenticeship Utah.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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