Future QC workers sign on for apprenticeships  

Dozens of high school students from across the Quad Cities shined in the spotlight Wednesday, April 20, as they gathered with their future employers for a Signing Day. 

More than 60 high school students each formally accepted an apprenticeship during a High School Apprenticeship Signing Day held at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center, Bettendorf. 

Modeled after a college signing day, the event served to showcase various career paths the students will be taking after graduation. Also participating were 19 different employers who are providing student apprenticeships in six different fields of work. Students represented high schools in Davenport, Pleasant Valley and North Scott in Iowa; and Moline – Coal Valley, Rock Island – Milan, and United Township in Illinois. 

The business partners, who all are offering apprenticeships, included: ALM Positioners, Arconic, Bowe Machine Co., Crawford Co., Eckhart, First Trust and Savings Bank, Friendship Manor, Hawk Technology, Jewell Group, John Deere Davenport Works, John Deere Harvester Works, M.A. Ford, McLaughlin Body Co., River Cities Engineering, Seaberg Industries, Uniparts Olsen, UnityPoint Health and Western Structural Co.

The event was organized by a collective of Quad Cities education and industry partners including the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and bring awareness to career path options, while supporting the current workforce needs of local employers. The group held its first Signing Day with apprentices in 2019. 

Rock Island Superintendent Reginald Lawrence and North Scott Superintendent Joe Stutting were event emcees. 

As apprentices, students have the chance to gain technical and professional skills through related training with their schools and on-the-job learning with partner companies. Apprenticeships were accepted in these professions: bank teller, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), CNC machining, pre-apprenticeship electrician, IT software engineering and welding.

According to Future Ready Iowa, 91% of apprentices who complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.

The chamber and its education partners are working with Quad Cities business partners to create more apprenticeship opportunities. For more information on developing an apprenticeship program, visit the chamber’s website.  

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