2 local students prepare for their future with paid apprenticeships

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS – It’s National Learning Week, and Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted visited the Polaris Career Center in Middleburg Heights to see how they are helping students like Darius Sykes and Kaidence Pozniak to learn while earning to help develop the economy.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” said apprentice Sykes.

Polaris trains approximately 80 adolescent and adult learners per year in skilled trades such as CNC machining.

“In fact, I’m the first girl to get the apprenticeship,” apprentice Pozniak said.

The solutions cannot come quickly enough. Skilled trades, like so many industries, face a labor shortage.

Husted said this type of program is both a solution to the labor shortage and a valuable tool in the chest.

“It’s both, it’s a solution if we get enough people to take advantage of it,” he said.

Apprentice Ohio, which is funded by the US Department of Labor, said more than 19,000 registered apprentices work in Buckeye State in nearly 200 different occupations.

Ohio ranks first in the Midwest for the number of apprentices and third in the country.

Husted said awareness is key.

“We are creating jobs in Ohio faster than we can fill them. Most new jobs require some technical expertise, and apprenticeships are essential to building the workforce today and tomorrow and it is a path of income and learning for people. “

Pozniak and Sykes are both 17 years old and graduating from high school. This two-year apprenticeship program costs them nothing. They actually make $ 15 an hour working 13 hours a week at Swagelok, who when they graduate next year will work full time and earn $ 20 an hour and more.

“We also need to help adults who are already in the workforce, whose skills may be a bit outdated or not advanced enough, and help them enter these training programs, develop their skills and be ready for them. jobs of the future. And I want to stress that we don’t take years – you can complete industry certification courses in a matter of weeks, ”Husted said.

Pozniak and Sykes are creating a better future for themselves and for our region.

“I want to become an engineer. I would like to be one of the people who actually create the code and configure it in the CNC machines,” said Pozniak.

Apprentices like these two students are putting Ohio back on the road to recovery.

“We are seeing the global supply chain moving back to the Midwest. Ohio wins a disproportionate share of these opportunities. Over the next ten years we will have the opportunity to develop businesses and jobs in this state better than ever in my life, but the key to whether we can guarantee this and grow this workforce ”, Husted said.

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