NECAC recognized by U.S. Department of Labor for apprenticeship program

NECAC apprentice

Front row from left: NECAC Weatherization director Eric Benn, U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship and Training representative Jeanna Caldwell, NECAC Weatherization director Brittany Wasson, NECAC deputy director for Housing Development Programs Carla Potts, NECAC president and chief executive officer Dan Page and Missouri Department of Natural Resources State Technical Weatherization supervisor Dan McDowell; Middle row from left: NECAC’s Brandon Warren, Zaqry Uplinger, Brenden Henderson, Jacob Niffen, Andy Mackey, Jacob Schler, James Patrick, Clintan Caldwell and Tom Branham. Back row from left: NECAC board members Tommy Wallace and Curt Mitchell and Bowling Green mayor Jim Arico. | Photo courtesy of NECAC

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — A job training program developed by the North East Community Action Corporation is getting more recognition from the federal government.

Jeanna Caldwell of the U.S. Department of Labor presented certificates on July 12 to six graduates of the NECAC apprenticeship program. Three other NECAC team members were recognized for achieving energy audit status.

In a press release, Caldwell, DOL apprenticeship and training representative, said “We believe that the earn-and-learn method of registered apprenticeship is the premier way to learn as you need to be successful in the workforce, and we are very appreciative of this program. We’re looking forward to working with NECAC to be able to develop new programs in in-demand programs.”

“We went from two graduates last year to nine this year, which speaks well to not only our graduates but to the weatherization directors and supervisors who mentored them in the areas of responsibility this program covers to ensure they had the knowledge and skills expected of a graduate,” NECAC president and chief executive officer Dan Page said. “It also speaks well as an acknowledgement of the program’s worth. They, like you and I, are not going to invest an entire year of our lives to reach a goal unless it means something, and this program means something.”

Dan McDowell, state technical weatherization supervisor for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has experience with apprenticeships and said the program offers graduates endless job opportunities.

“The energy sector is the fastest growing sector nationwide,” McDowell said. “You guys have chosen a really good time to make that commitment and take the step through being in the apprenticeship program and now graduating to a huge career opportunity and path that will take you essentially anywhere you want to go.”

The six apprenticeship graduates are Brandon Warren, Jacob Niffen, Brenden Henderson, Andrew Mackey, Zaqry Uplinger and Jacob Schler. Receiving certificates as energy auditors were James Patrick, Clintan Caldwell and Tom Branham.

“We are very excited to have six more people complete their apprenticeship and three others become energy auditors,” NECAC deputy director for Housing Development Programs Carla Potts. “The training, both classroom and on-the-job, has been invaluable and has made them better employees. The apprenticeships are a pathway to not just a job, but a career in home energy conservation.”

Others attending the ceremony were Pike County commissioner and NECAC Pike County board member Tommy Wallace; NECAC Pike County board member Curt Mitchell; Bowling Green mayor Jim Arico; and NECAC Weatherization directors Eric Benn and Brittany Wasson.

The apprentice program was developed by NECAC in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Missouri Department of Labor, the Northeast Missouri Workforce Development Board and Pike-Lincoln Technical Center.

The goal is to provide newly-hired weatherization employees with skills that will allow them to work in a variety of construction and energy job fields.

The NECAC effort began in March 2021. The program consists of 144 hours of classroom learning and 2,000 hours of on-the-job education. Upon completion, participants earn a Department of Labor certification as a home performance laborer.

NECAC showcases the apprenticeship as a model for weatherization across the country. More information is available by calling NECAC at 573-324-6622.

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