A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Span Tech, state Labor Cabinet announce new youth apprenticeship program beginning this fall in Barren County

Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey joined officials from Span Tech, a local conveyor manufacturer, and Barren County School District to announce the creation of a new youth apprenticeship program beginning this fall.

The first of its kind in Barren County, this collaboration will enable area high school students to begin an Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship at Span Tech starting in their junior year of high school. While curriculum for the apprenticeship is still being designed, the partnership will consists of classroom instruction from the Barren County Area Technology Center with on-the-job training at Span Tech.

Secretary Derrick Ramsey

“When the ‘Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.’ apprenticeship program was launched last September, we did so with days like this in mind,” Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey stated. “Today’s announcement showcases how community leaders are effectively coming together to address local workforce needs. Registered Apprenticeships provide a perfect avenue to fill the available jobs in today’s economy, and I want to commend Span Tech and the Barren County School District for understanding the importance of business and education collaborating to create this exciting and innovative new opportunity.”

Span Tech was started in 1978 by Bud Layne and is a small family owned business that manufactures conveyor systems for food processing, packing, and manufacturing.

“Apprenticeships are the oldest and most successful form of on-the-job training in the world,” said Layne, CEO and founder at Span Tech. “This is why I’m confident a ‘grow your own’ approach through apprenticeships is a great opportunity to strengthen Span Tech’s workforce as we work tirelessly to deliver word class products and services. Not only will Span Tech benefit from this program, but in time, we hope that all area employers will buy into this model and benefit by keeping our best and brightest students employed right here in Barren County.”

Youth apprenticeships in Kentucky are created through a partnership between Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) within the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.

Following graduation from high school, apprentices will pursue post-secondary apprenticeship training. Employers like Span Tech are able to tailor the program for their specific needs and to select the Career and Technical Education courses and students for their apprenticeship pathway. This creates a competitive recruiting environment insuring that employers benefit by gaining future employees that have a good foundation and an interest in that occupation while apprentices earn a nationally-recognized industry certificate at the completion of the program.

The TRACK program has proven to be successful in the areas of manufacturing, skilled trades and early childhood education with over 75 students completing a youth apprenticeship program since its inception in 2014. TRACK also has plans to expand in all areas of Career and Technical Education, including information technology, business, healthcare and culinary trades.

“Education and workforce development have always been related, but not always on the same page,” said Bo Matthews, Superintendent at Barren County School District. “Our educational product has not always closely aligned with the immediate needs of industry. Apprenticeship programs will help align education and industry training to produce highly skilled employees that meet the demands of employers. On behalf of the Barren County School System, we wish to extend our thanks to Bud Layne and Span Tech for taking a lead in this collaboration by registering an apprenticeship program and investing in youth training opportunities for this region.”

Elected officials Sen. David Givens (R-Greensburg) and Rep. Steve Riley (R-Glasgow) also offered praise.

“I am pleased to hear of the creation of this new technical education partnership between the Barren County School District and Span Tech,” Givens said. “Partnerships such as these are bridging the education gap that so often limits the pool of Kentucky’s workforce. I applaud both the company and the school district for their innovation in education, and I greatly look forward to the success of this program.”

“Kentucky continues to be innovative in educating and preparing our students for the workforce,” said Riley. “This new apprenticeship program will help to ensure that Barren County has the most qualified workforce available with on-the-job training. I commend Span Tech for this impressive collaboration, and I look forward to its positive impact on our students and community.”

For more information on Registered Apprenticeships, visit www.KentuckyApprenticeship.com.

Additional information is available at http://labor.kentucky.gov.

From Kentucky Labor Cabinet Communications

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