Over the years some very innovative initiatives have been undertaken between College of the Canyons (COC) and AMS Fulfillment, and a new program is in the works. For the past two years AMS has been working in partnership with COC in an effort to provide free access to education for its employees. In this arrangement, AMS provides the classroom space, and COC provides the curriculum, instructors, materials and registration.
Ongoing COC adult education courses offered at AMS include English as a Second Language, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and Beginner Microsoft Excel classes, with General Education Diploma (GED) and Citizenship courses in the works. In addition to these adult education classes, AMS and COC have announced that they will be partnering in a new program with on-the-job training that has a proven record of success in the workplace: Apprenticeship.
In 2011, the US Department of Labor created an initiative called Apprenticeship USA to address a problem of in-demand jobs and an untrained workforce. In this program, apprentices will learn a new skill, within their community. Here’s how it works: An apprentice receives on-the-job training (OJT) as an employee with a local business which allows them to earn an income while gaining new skills. In addition, they participate in a college education program focused on that skill.
Apprenticeship is not a new idea – it has been seen as tried and true for a long time. Since the 1930s there has been a tradition of apprenticeship in the building construction industry and in craft unions. Within the plumbing, carpentry, ironworkers and elevator constructors unions, and in other skilled labor unions, apprenticeship is the way people gain employment and training.
The new Department of Labor initiative makes it clear that skilled employees are also needed in many non-union jobs, and an apprenticeship model can work well to fill the needs in those industries.
The apprenticeship program offered by COC is meant to do exactly that. Their program focuses on skills needed in the areas of Information Systems, Advanced Manufacturing and Healthcare, as there are critical employment deficits in these industries and others as well. For example, COC is preparing to offer registered apprenticeships in nearly a dozen occupations related to Advanced Manufacturing.
COC and AMS Fulfillment have been working to design a program in response to the employment needs of the company, which are Logistics and Warehousing. Through this partnership, COC is able to pursue a state-approved apprenticeship program with a projected start date of January 2017.
According to Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, Chancellor of College of the Canyons, this apprenticeship program with AMS Fulfillment will result in several “firsts” for the company:
- The first company in the Santa Clarita Valley to partner with a Community College to create an apprenticeship program;
- The first company in the State of California to offer an apprenticeship program specializing in warehousing and shipping;
- The first company in the United States to apply for a registered apprenticeship with the Department of Labor in the area of warehousing and shipping.
Dr. Van Hook goes on to say, “We are proud to be a partner with AMS Fulfillment in bringing needed skills to underserved populations within our community.”
AMS Fulfillment is known for creating jobs and opportunities for those in need. When asked about the apprenticeship program, Ken Wiseman, CEO of AMS, expressed the company’s goals: “At AMS we are fortunate that we can offer many entry level jobs each year to individuals seeking employment. With this new Apprentice program, we will take 13-individuals and give them a chance to take their logistics job, and turn it into a career. That’s a big opportunity, and one that is enabled through the partnership efforts of College of the Canyons, AMS Fulfillment, and both Federal and State programs that support this initiative.”
This is an example of how a corporation and a college can work together to make a difference in the lives of people regardless of their past. AMS and COC will continue to strive for excellence in serving the clients, the students and the people of Santa Clarita for years to come…stay tuned.