Education, Universities and Colleges, Tampa Bay

Amskills Apprenticeships: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Industry



The American Manufacturing Skills Initiative, known as AmSkills, is a unique tri-county partnership of Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, manufacturing companies, government agencies, school districts, local colleges, veteran organizations, staffing agencies, and social service providers to fill the Tampa Bay area’s high demand for a variety of Advanced Manufacturing jobs.

The customized European-style apprenticeship formula for the Tampa Bay market results in job-ready, industry certified, semi-skilled and skilled trades workers. Instructors are realworld manufacturers and engineers using a combination of 20% theoretical and 80% hands-on application for project completion. Candidates in the program explore a variety of manufacturing tracks to help them determine the best manufacturing career path, as well as important life skills training necessary for long-term job placement and career advancement.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s #1 Recommendation for the 2017 Legislative Session on Education was “Preparing Florida’s workforce and addressing the skills gap.” Recently the Hillsborough-Pinellas County Manufacturing Gap Analysis Needs Assessment showed an increasing shift from traditional manufacturing methods to more advanced methods.

The report identified three key areas of improvement including; (1) increase interest in manufacturing, (2) increase workers’ knowledge of the industry, and (3) connect industry with education. In addition, it identified three solutions to address these areas including; (1) Organize manufacturing job opportunities public relations campaign, (2) Increase internship and apprenticeship offerings, and (3) Improve coordination between industry, education, and government.

AmSkills has implemented all three of these solutions by establishing a European-Style Apprenticeship Training Program through the formation of the ICTC Governing Board. This Board is made up of County Commissioners, School Superintendents, College Presidents and manufacturers and through their efforts, are working together to affect positive change for youth, adults, veterans, and manufacturers.

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AmSkills – American Manufacturing Skills Initiative

Bldg #6, 7825 Campus Drive,

New Port Richey,

Florida 34653

Phone: (727) 301-1282

The AmSkills Pre-Apprentice Program is designed to replicate a real-work environment. Pre-Apprentices must clock-in and out, meet attendance goals, participate in team building exercises and complete hands-on projects. Based on skill level, adults and veterans who complete either the youth or adult pre-apprenticeship program have the opportunity for job placement within four to six months.

Apprentice Candidates begin a 90-day “Manufacturing Career Launch Phase” working at a manufacturer that has been identified as the “best fit” for the candidate, which includes their interest in a specific career track, the company and successful completion of all program goals.

To help Apprentice Candidates succeed on a long-term basis, AmSkills has implemented an innovative “dual-coaching” system, which ensures that program participants receive the assistance and support needed for long-term success.

Before job placement occurs, the manufacturer is asked to identify potential “mentors” within their company who are required to take part in a Mentor Training Program.

After job placement with a manufacturing company, as they continue working and completing the Career Launch Phase and Apprenticeship Training. This dualcoaching method helps candidates develop the skills and support needed as they launch their career.

Finally, at the conclusion of the 90-day Career Launch Phase, the manufacturer, the Apprentice Candidate and AmSkills map out the Candidates Training Plan; and the Candidate officially becomes an Apprentice, working for the manufacturer and supported by the AmSkills Coach.

The opportunity for paid, on-the-job skills building with top manufacturing and trade businesses while in high school, college, or training helps students gain greater insight to determine the appropriate progression to achieve their career goals. This program is innovative because students’ technical and soft skills are assessed before placement and matched with the needs and culture of corporate partners awaiting skilled workers. Students employed following AmSkills certification have a greater chance of a long-term career.

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