When Officer Brian Bowers, the Amherst school resource officer, decided it was time to replace the old wooden buildings at the city’s Safety Town with brick buildings, he had an idea. He ran it by Tammy Tansey, Northern Ohio Regional Training Center administrator, and she was all in.
“Officer Bowers thought our bricklayer apprentices could do the work,” she says. “That would give them a chance to help the community and get some experience outside of school.”
The apprentices are part of a four-year program through the Northern Ohio Regional Training Center that requires 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 160 hours of related instruction each year. And because of the training center’s partnership with Lorain County Community College, students receive college credit for their related instruction as they’re working toward their journeyman card.
Chris Mason, one of the apprentices who worked on the Safety Town buildings, joined the apprenticeship program after working in residential and commercial construction for years.
“Educating yourself beyond just on-the-job training is essential for growth in any field,” Mason says. “I’ve heard about the benefits of working through the apprenticeship program and I couldn’t be happier.”
Mason, along with his classmates, began replacing two of the buildings early this fall, putting the skills they’d been learning in the classroom to use. They laid the brick and installed proper flashing and grouting, while practicing daily safety measures.
The apprentices’ work was so well received, Bowers asked them to rebuild two more buildings, which they completed at the end of October. Mason and fellow classmate Cory Morgan were both happy to be asked back.
“I grew up in the area and have been to Safety Town many times,” Morgan says. “I have children that have been there so it was so nice at the end of the day to see all the kids running and playing in the new masonry-inspired Safety Town.”
Don Robinson, Northern Ohio Regional Training Center brick instructor, says that he couldn’t have asked for a better way to apply the apprentices’ training.
“This project gave them such a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Robinson says. “It’s new masonry buildings built through a local training center, and some of the apprentices are from Lorain County. It’s a wonderful community collaboration.”
Robinson says the Safety Town project has been a cooperative effort from the start. After the apprentices laid the brick for the buildings, Officer Bowers and other Amherst police officers completed the carpentry work. Robinson hopes the apprentices will be asked to work on the remaining buildings.
“It was a great experience for the students, me, and the City of Amherst,” Robinson says. “All of the apprentices are looking forward to bringing their kids out to see what they built.”
Partnering for apprenticeships
LCCC has a long history of partnering with local companies to support registered apprenticeship and internship programs.
- A partnership with UAW/Ford Motor Co. that stretches back more than 20 years has trained nearly 1,000 local workers in trades including electrical, pipefitter, millwright, welding, toolmaker and industrial truck mechanic.
- A customized multi-craft maintenance technician apprenticeship program has helped Ridge Tool Company train their future advanced manufacturing workforce.
- At Oberlin-based agricultural machinery manufacturer AgriNomix, LCCC engineering technology students helped improve the automation process for shipping products to customers.
- Recent collaborations with Kendal at Oberlin and LifeCare Ambulance Services have accelerated the development of STNA and paramedic students, respectively.