Clark State College Workforce and Business Solutions and McGregor Metal have partnered to offer employees its first Learn to Earn certificates in welding.
Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State said the educational transition to a Learn to Earn model is already happening.
“Quick path – or non-credit – really is the future,” she said. “It is the model that will be at every community college and in every regional university in the future. Clark State has the facilities and the faculty. This is truly an investment in people.”
Clark State partnered with McGregor to create a 4-week, 32-hour Weld Tech training. The training consists of 4 employees each month who go through an introduction weld tech training to take back and use in the facility. The courses are offered at no cost to the employees.
Jamie McGregor, CEO of McGregor Metal said he initially did not think of education as “nimble and flexible,” but this new model has demonstrated there is hope, even in other job disciplines.
“We are willing to invest the money and the time,” he said. “We view it as delivering on a need. Flexibility and creativity, that’s what we need as an employer.”
With the Learn to Earn model, McGregor Metal is striving to build a pathway for employees with the aptitude and desire to grow in their careers. The company stated that a welding specific position can be a barrier for employees who want to increase their earnings.
“This is impacting real McGregor associates, right now. It’s accessible for all,” said McGregor. “We had one person miss one class (in the first round). It is a testament to how seriously our associates are taking this opportunity.”
The training is held twice a week for four weeks at the Clark State main campus in Springfield. The first class of trainees graduated earlier this month and the June and July cohorts are full.
“If I can give someone the gift of education, then that is theirs forever,” said McGregor.
“They can take that wherever - down the road, up the street – it doesn’t matter to me, but hopefully they say, “when I was at McGregor, they gave me this.’”