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Trades get creative to keep apprentices learning

Some apprentices have been able to complete coursework remotely to stay on track.

Posted: May 12, 2020 4:02 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – In order to keep apprentices and interns learning and the job market moving, different trades have had to get creative with their approach to teaching amid the pandemic.

The Sheet Metal Institute, based out of Portland, has a location in Springfield. All in-person instruction is closed until mid-June.

In the meantime, the institute has implemented online training so apprentices can get required course hours with work they don’t have to do in-person to avoid falling behind.

“As a state-registered apprenticeship, the apprentices need to meet a minimum number of classroom hours to progress in the program.

So we are just making sure they get an opportunity to get these hours while we’re not in person,” Executive Administrator Rob Postma said.

Starting in the summer quarter, he said he expects they’ll be able to meet in the classroom again.

For apprentices, wages start at about $17 an hour and there is a 5% pay raise every six months. Then, when you graduate, starting wages are nearly $40 an hour.

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