|Photo: Bailey Harwell (right) and fellow apprentices in the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Pre-Apprenticeship Program learned how to bend conduit during hands-on training earlier this year.|
WACO, Texas—When Riesel resident Bailey Harwell decided to follow his dad’s advice for joining the trade union, he wasn’t sure what would come of it.
“I applied and went for an interview,” Harwell said. “I later talked to our business manager, and he talked to me a little bit about this new thing they have going on, the MC3 program. It just went from there.”
The MC3 program Harwell is referring to is the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a grant-funded training that prepares individuals for registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) in high-demand, skilled trade occupations including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, structural iron and steel workers, sheet metal workers, welders, and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers.
MC3 is nationally recognized and approved by the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and is offered in partnership by Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas, McLennan Community College (MCC), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 72 (IBEW Local 72), and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 529 (UA Local 529). Once complete, participants earn the MC3 Certificate of Completion from NABTU and 120 continuing education credits from MCC. They are then placed into RAPs with local employers as full-time paid employees who earn as they learn.
“The MC3 program is a chance to show young people available careers that they probably never knew existed,” said Craig Miller, IBEW Local 72’s business manager.
Which is exactly what it did for Harwell.
“The MC3 program gave me a firsthand look at what I was getting myself into because I’d never been in the construction trade before,” said Harwell. “It teaches you everything about what you’re about to do—the money you’re about to make, the contract you’re about to sign, the work you’re about to do.”
Harwell completed the three-week, 120-hour MC3 training program in May and is one of 15 graduates since the program was first implemented two years ago. He now serves as a first-year apprentice at Rosendin Electric, an electrical contractor in Waco, where he receives full pay and benefits.
“My experience with Rosendin Electric has been really great,” said Harwell. “Every day is something new. I feel really accomplished with what I’m doing, and it’s a family here. They take care of us.”
With help from additional grants, Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas is expanding its apprenticeship offerings to include healthcare and early childhood educator career tracks.
The healthcare track is a 100-hour Patient Care Technician (PCT) program that provides apprentices with 60 hours of classroom credits and 40 hours of hands-on resident care in a nursing facility. Training will be delivered and monitored by MCC, as well as partnering hospitals and nursing facilities. Upon completion, participants will be eligible for the National Certified Patient Care Technician exam and placement in a local RAP.
“The healthcare industry is a vital part of our local economy and workforce, and the pandemic only amplified the ever-increasing need for quality, dedicated healthcare professionals,” said Erin Dosher, grants and initiatives manager for Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas. “A registered apprenticeship is an important tool to help us meet our local healthcare workforce needs.”
The early childhood educator RAP is currently being developed by Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas and MCC and will be modeled after the Camp Fire First Texas program in North Texas. Through this program, apprentices will benefit from paid on-the-job learning, educational courses and one-on-one coaching in the classroom.
“A registered apprenticeship is an effective strategy to help early childhood educators further their careers with education and increased compensation,” Dosher said. “This registered apprenticeship will increase our region’s supply of qualified early childhood educators and improve the school readiness for our children entering kindergarten.”
Local child care providers are also participating in the development process to ensure the early childhood educator RAP meets local industry needs. Misty Gipson, director of Aunt Rosie’s Day Care in Mexia, said it’s an important opportunity for child care providers.
“It takes different perspectives when planning important decisions in the child care industry,” she said. “Many decisions are made by individuals that want the best for the industry but don’t have hands-on knowledge. Having insight on what our industry needs helps in the development of an effective program.”
Apprentices can also earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate, a Level I College Certificate in Child Development, Associates of Applied Science (AAS) in Child Development, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Child Development and Family Studies at Tarleton University. Tarleton University offers this degree on the MCC campus through the MCC University Center.
“This program will give children a teacher that is well trained in classroom information,” said Gipson. “Staff often attend outside training but cannot apply what they learn immediately in the classroom. In the apprenticeship program, teachers will develop the proper skills to enhance any early childhood program. They will apply what they learn daily and grow as the children learn.”
More information will be provided on the early childhood educator RAP once it is fully developed.
“We know how valuable apprenticeships are to both our employers and career seekers, and National Apprenticeship Week is a great time for us to shine a light on our programs,” said Dosher. “We are proud to offer quality apprenticeship programs that develop highly-skilled workers and meet increasing employer demand throughout our region.”
For more information on all apprenticeship programs offered by Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas, visit our Apprenticeships web page.
About Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas
Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas provides comprehensive services for businesses and job seekers in its six-county service area, which includes Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan counties. Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas is one of 28 local workforce development boards under the direction of and funded by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).