3 Chattanooga Apprentices to Receive DOL Certification

November 19, 2021 | Pamela Gitta | Internal Press Release

worker adjusting maintenance drill

Three new journeyworkers will be in the December 2021 graduating class at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Chattanooga State.

They have fulfilled the requirements for federal Department of Labor certification as Industrial Maintenance Technicians.

Carson Burnette, Logan Garland, and Logan Petty, all Gestamp Chattanooga employees, have completed the two-year apprenticeship program that requires 2,750 hours of full-time work in addition to six semesters of 15 or more classroom hours each week, including the summer semester.

“I’m glad it’s over,” said Burnette, “but it was worth it.”

Registered apprenticeship is a proven worker training model that combines formal education and paid on-the-job training to produce well-rounded employees uniquely positioned to understand the jobs they perform. The certification received from the DOL is a nationally portable credential.

They started the program in January 2020, so their time as apprentices has been marked by the unique stresses of the Covid pandemic. In addition to “going virtual” for eight weeks in a technical field that is largely hands-on, they had to come back to campus on a rotating schedule that kept class sizes smaller than usual to enable social distancing.

The pandemic made changes in their workplace as well: employees at most Chattanooga manufacturers have put in a lot of overtime this year. “They actually completed their on-the-job hours several months ago,” explained Pam Gitta, apprenticeship manager in Chattanooga State’s Economic and Workforce Development Office. “Finishing these last few weeks in the classroom is their only remaining requirement.”

One of those weeks is the week of November 15-21, which the Department of Labor has designated as National Apprenticeship Week 2021.

First observed in November 2015, National Apprenticeship Week celebrates the role of apprenticeship in helping workers earn while they learn and grow the economy.

When Garland was asked what he would do with his free time now that classes are over, his response was immediate: “Sleep!”