Claremore infrastructure company, Pelco Structural, hosted a graduation ceremony Wednesday for the 2020 Welding Apprentice Graduating Class. The 5 graduates, ranging from high school graduates to Oklahomans in their 40’s, participated in the company’s apprenticeship program sponsored by the Office of Oklahoma Workforce Development and this fall they will begin working as full-time, essential staff members at Pelco Structural.
Congratulations to Kevin Garringer, Berry Gillett, Logan Blagg, Philip Carruba, and Taylor Allman.
A manufacturer of custom steel structures from transmission to traffic, Pelco Structural provides essential services to companies throughout the nation. To help educate and supply skilled workers, the company’s apprentice program has continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many apprenticeship programs like Pelco’s lead Oklahomans into careers in essential fields that have endured Coronavirus shutdowns or lulls in business.
“We’re proud of this year’s class for working through some of the most abnormal circumstances since we founded this company,” said Jeanine Coleman, director of human resources. “They have worked hard and been great assets to our company and we’re happy to add them all to our staff full-time this fall.”
Pelco Structural founded the apprentice program in 2018 as a long-term solution to recruit and train staff. Since its founding they have graduated 7 apprentices, all of whom went on to join Pelco Structural as welders. The Oklahoma Office for Workforce Development aided in launching the program by offering technical assistance, curriculum and grant funding.
“We know every business has unique needs, and every industry’s training so we work closely with employers to create a tailored apprenticeship program,” said Don Morris, executive director for the Oklahoma Office for Workforce Development. Pelco Structural is a wonderful success story and we’re glad to have helped,” he said.
Apprenticeship programs are growing in popularity for Oklahoma workers seeking stable employment and educational opportunities. Many Oklahomans are turning to apprenticeships to launch new careers, without the burden of student debt. The model, which allows workers to earn a living through the duration of their education and training, has helped many avoid the economic instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The apprenticeship was a good chance for me to start something new,”.said Logan Blagg, a Pelco Structural apprentice. “The mentors I worked with at Pelco taught me a lot, and I’m glad it’s led me to a good job where I can contribute something meaningful.”