Memphis area colleges, businesses announce January 2019 launch of construction apprenticeship program
Thousands of skilled labor jobs go unfilled in Memphis every day. Presidents of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis (TCAT Memphis), Southwest Tennessee Community College and The MMBC Continuum announced Tuesday a joint venture with the newly formed TAP Education Consortium to launch a construction apprenticeship program. Beginning in January 2019, participants will work during the day and attend TCAT Memphis at night to learn skills in electrical, masonry or concrete.
The TAP Consortium consists of TopCat Masonry Contractors, Inc., A-1 Electrical Contractors and Precise Concrete Works, LLC. TAP co-founder and Precise Concrete Works President Martin Carodine said all three companies will provide jobs to apprenticeship participants as they earn a diploma or certificate at TCAT-Memphis. “The TAP Education Consortium was formed to address the construction industry’s declining, skilled-labor workforce,” he said. “TAP wants to equip youth and other individuals with the necessary skills to shift their trajectory in a positive direction. We are excited about the impact our collaboration will have on our community.”
Participants in the pilot program can earn between $10-11 an hour starting out, with potential for increased pay through the program. Eligible residents must have a high school diploma or general equivalency degree (GED) and meet TCAT Memphis admissions requirements. The program has space for up to 30 residents — 10 per track. Participants who qualify for federal and state financial aid, including Pell Grants and Tennessee Promise or TN Reconnect, may study tuition-free.
“This is an outstanding program that could serve as a model for future apprenticeship programs,” TCAT Memphis President Roland Rayner said. “Having businesses partner directly with us to hire our students while they study is a perfect fit as our mission is to empower our graduates to compete for the abundance of well-paying, high-skilled jobs in our community,” he said.
“Partnerships like these are fantastic pathways and pipelines,” said Dr. Tracy D. Hall, President of Southwest Tennessee Community College, which aligned TCAT, the companies and the MMBC Continuum to form the partnership, and is supporting the project with marketing and recruitment. “We are developing an articulation agreement right now that will enable these students to matriculate to Southwest to earn their associate degree when they complete the TCAT program,” she said. “It’s a win-win-win for TCAT, Southwest and the local businesses who need skilled construction workers.”
MMBC Continuum President & CEO Jozelle Luster Booker says The MMBC Continuum works to support the growth and scale of minority businesses and has presented the Joint Venture concept to its M/WBE members for several years, and was instrumental in facilitating the partnership between all parties. “We are proud that three of our members have come together to develop the TAP Education Consortium,” Booker said. “Not only did they identify a way to partner and collaborate, but they saw a gap in the future workforce of their respective industries and decided to build a pipeline of skilled workers. Their efforts will impact our economy to help address unemployment and underemployment, consumer consumption and much more.”
Interested participants can apply online to TCAT Memphis or call (901) 543-6132 for more information.
Southwest Tennessee Community College is a comprehensive, multicultural, public, open-access college that serves more than 13,000 students annually. Southwest awards associate degrees and certifications in more than 120 programs of study to raise educational levels, enhance economic development and enrich quality of life for students and the community at large. Southwest is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis (TCAT) is one of 27 technical colleges that serve as the premier suppliers of workforce development throughout the State of Tennessee. The Colleges fulfill their mission by providing competency-based, hands-on instruction that prepares graduates to compete for high demand jobs and assist career advancement. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution that is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. TCAT Memphis operates three locations. The main campus is located at 550 Alabama Avenue between N. Danny Thomas Blvd. and Poplar Avenue.
The Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum (The MMBC Continuum) is the economic accelerator for stage II M/WBEs and is committed to empowering and assisting scalable minority and women-owned businesses to supply and meet corporate demands.