In the corporate world, it becomes both prudent and necessary to make certain investments in order to maintain the quality and profitability of services rendered. In doing so, the ability to hire, train and retain quality employees is of paramount importance. Knowing this, SE3 LLC would be well advised to consider participating in the U.S. Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program.
As a regional engineering firm that performs contract work for some of the largest clients in the tri-state area, SE3 has several positions that would be suitable models for the registered apprenticeship program. However, the important role of project engineers in the day to day operations of SE3 cannot be overstated, and so it is the purpose of this proposal that the registered apprenticeship program focus solely on grooming the next generation of SE3 project engineers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website concerning time-based requirements for the registered apprenticeship program, any apprentice SE3 is to take on will receive no less than a minimum of 2,000 hours of work in a given year, in addition to “…an outline of the specific work processes and the approximate time requirement for each individual work process under that occupation” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2014). The apprenticeship for a project engineer as per SE3 company guidelines would likely result in a standard 40-hour workweek. The apprentice would be engaged in joint projects among several engineers and project managers, in addition to solo projects that will be evaluated for competency and quality of work in order to determine the quality and possibility of a potential hire following the successful completion of the internship. Skills that would be disseminated to the apprentice would include the drafting of CAD construction plans, the ability to read said plans, any construction or ethical engineering standards that may be in accordance with a specific project they are assigned and general information and networking regarding the clients. The formal feedback process that will be instituted for the duration of the apprenticeship will consist of performance evaluations at the six and twelve-month marks that will gauge a variety of metrics related to the work performance of the individual; everything from the quality of their work, to their personal compatibility within the office, to their ability to communicate effectively with coworkers, clients, and management will be scrutinized, in addition to other, more mundane aspects of the evaluation such as punctuality.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of enrolling one or more apprentices through the U.S. Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program. The short term benefits regarding the bottom line profitability of the company include opportunities to obtain funding from the U.S. Department of Labor and tax credits that can be attributed to our participation in the program; the cost of taking on one or more apprentices could potentially be offset by portions of local, state or federal funding, which may result in a net gain should the desired tax cuts be successfully implemented in the following fiscal year. The long term benefits for the company regarding bottom-line profitability are even more substantial, as any quality hires obtained from company participation in the registered apprenticeship program will pay dividends, through higher quality of service and the distinct possibility additional clients and company growth. A second advantage to taking on one or more apprentices through the registered apprenticeship program would be the lack of resources SE3 would need to spend on the creation and implementation of any training programs that will be put forth over the course of the apprenticeship(s); the registered apprenticeship program would be responsible for the creation and implementation of such programs, leaving SE3 more resources to devote to the payment of additional or successive apprentices. A third advantage of participating in the registered apprenticeship program is the ability to apprentice nearly any one of our many occupations once SE3 has successfully registered to be a recipient; the tedious task of obtaining clearance and company funds to attend job fairs and recruit interns from colleges and universities across the nation can be eliminated by partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor and allowing this process to be done for us., with the added benefits of the tax breaks and potential funding infusion previously mentioned.
The disadvantages of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program are fewer than the advantages, though no less substantial. In partnering with this program, the ability to set the time frame of an apprentice’s employment is no longer the decision of the company, as there are strict guidelines requiring the employer to give a minimum of 2,000 hours for a calendar year to any apprentice; if funding is not obtained from the program in order to provide wages for the apprentice(s), SE3 could be stuck paying out of pocket for an excessive amount of apprentice work. It is recommended that the company ensure that these 2,000 hours are indeed needed before making this type of monetary commitment. An additional disadvantage would be the limited pool of applicants for the specific job field that is the recommended occupation for an apprenticeship. As the occupation of civil engineer remains a relatively white-collar profession, “apprenticeships” as they have traditionally been implemented may not be the best fit for the company. It may be prudent to discern the level of interest within the registered apprenticeship program for this type of experience, as a traditional internship may be a better fit at this point in time unless a significant spike in interest among registered applicants can be found.
It is recommended that SE3, at the very least, consider applying for the privilege of participating in the registered apprenticeship program offered by the U.S. Department of Labor, specifically because of the potential for new, quality hires that may ensure continued company growth.
Employers. (n.d.). Registered Apprenticeship. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://www.doleta.gov/oa/employer.cfm
Engineering/Design. (n.d.). SE3 LLC - Bringing infrastructure projects to life. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://se3.us/page.php?id=3