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"From Risk-Takers to the Model of Success: University of Virginia's Apprenticeship Program Celebrates 25 Years"
Author: Franko, Donna,Klingel, Jay,Wooding, Betty,
Published In: Facilities Manager
Date: May/June 2008

The University of Virginia's Apprenticeship Program provides apprentices a curriculum of formal classroom instruction, four years of on-the-job training, and monthly evaluations by journey-level mechanics and supervisors assigned to mentor the apprentices. The classroom component is offered at local community colleges and/or vocational technical centers. Educational expense is provided by the university, while classroom attendance and study is on the apprentice's time. The curriculum is reviewed periodically to assure content is consistent with current trade standards and code compliance. The four-year, on-the-job component is formalized by a description of specific trades activities, provided during apprenticeship training. Shop supervisors and apprentice mentors collaborate to provide monthly evaluation of apprentices' progress. The evaluation includes a 360-degree component for apprentice feedback. The Apprenticeship Program manager reviews the monthly evaluations to ensure individual progress and program consistency. This article provides an overview of this program as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. The history of the program, the components that make up the Apprenticeship Program, and some of the challenges that are inherent with administering such a successful program are discussed. The article concludes by summarizing the benefits of the program and how it serves as a model for other institutions.

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