Elon University Physical Plant launches apprenticeship program

The new program seeks to train employees to fill critically needed trade positions within Physical Plant, with a focus on recruiting apprentices from historically underrepresented groups.

Elon University Physical Plant has launched an apprenticeship program that seeks to fill critically needed trade positions while increasing employment opportunities for historically underrepresented groups.

The new program is open to all Elon University employees with an interest in roles such as automobile mechanic, carpenter, electrician, horticulturist, locksmith, plumber and HVACR technicians.

Tom Flood, assistant vice president of Physical Plant, said the launch of the apprenticeship program has been years in the making. It meets multiple needs, as the program is designed to produce highly skilled employees and to increase the diversity within departments and equity for employees.

“Elon Physical Plant offers a variety of desirable and engaging career paths, with the department performing a multitude of functions that keep the university moving forward,” Flood said. “The launch of the apprenticeship program provides a pathway for promising Elon employees to pursue these high-demand, high-skill careers and creates opportunities for groups that have been historically underrepresented in these trades.”

Apprenticeship provides an opportunity to obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction and nationally recognized skill credentials. These internships are designed to emphasize hands-on education that is supported by engaged mentorship.

The program is registered through the N.C. Community College System’s ApprenticeshipNC initiative and the U.S. Department of Labor. It will provide training and education for those who may not have previously had the opportunity or resources to develop the skills required of a licensed trade while enabling Physical Plant to continue to ensure its workforce is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Each apprenticeship will last four to five years and will require at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 576 hours of related classroom instruction. Apprentices will be assessed during the program based on their work on the job and in the classroom. Expenses associated with instructional courses, such as tuition, fees and books, will be funded through grants available through ApprenticeshipNC or will be supported by the university if grant funding is not available.

Apprentices who complete their instruction and on-the-job training requirements will receive a certificate of completion and a nationally recognized journey level occupational credential from ApprenticeshipNC and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We’ve designed this program to offer the necessary support for these apprentices to gain the skills they will need to become nationally credentialed while offering the resources necessary to complete the program,” said Tim Dengler, director of building trades. “Key to that is the mentorship component, with seasoned and skilled Elon employees working with them and supporting them throughout the apprenticeship.”

To qualify for the program, individuals must be employed by Elon for at least a year and have satisfactory annual performance reviews with no disciplinary actions within the past two years. Preferred qualifications include a high school diploma, work experience in the specific trade or similar trade positions, and a mechanical aptitude demonstrated through past employment or experience.

Interested applicants will fill out an Apprenticeship Program short form indicating their interest. When an apprenticeship position is open, those who have submitted short forms will be asked to complete the entire program application. There are currently openings for an apprentice locksmith and an apprentice carpenter. Those interested can apply through the Human Resources Staff Career Opportunities site.

Find more information about the Physical Plant Apprenticeship Program by contacting Tim Dengler at tdengler@elon.edu or (336) 278-5493.