New apprenticeship program

Learning on the job

Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County’s first in state to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor

By Brett Auten

There is a new and growing awareness for a centuries-old method of growing the workforce.

Apprenticeships have become trendy for training workers and filling job openings and now the Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County is ahead of the game with a new pilot program. 

The St. Charles County branch is the first American Job Center in the state to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as a registered apprenticeship program sponsor. The center, located at 212 Turner Blvd in St. Peters, received $255,000 in federal and state funding to begin a new manufacturing apprenticeship program.

“It is an honor,” Scott J. Drachnik, Executive Director of the Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County, said. “We are looking forward to working with local manufacturers to help them hire and train individuals who will receive occupational credentials from the U.S. Department of Labor after they successfully complete this new pilot program.”

There will be five core components in the registered apprenticeship program: training on the job, classroom training, work mentorship, progressive wages and national occupational credentialing.

In all, 30 individuals will be chosen for a chance in the program. There is no age limit and participants must be at least 16 years of age, though most manufacturers require employees to be at least 18.

The new St. Charles County program uses a competency-based model which allows expedited advancement based on demonstrated performance, rather than a minimum timeframe spent in training. Companies that hire eligible workers are eligible to receive reimbursement of wages for up to six months during the training period. Participating employers must agree at the outset to hire their apprentice as a full-time employee, and wages must start at $12 an hour or higher.

Drachnik said that based on surveys and discussions with local manufacturers, the job classifications initially targeting in this new program include, but aren’t limited to, CNC Machining, manual machining, production assembly, quality inspection/bonding, plastics production, welding and warehouse/shipping and receiving.

Manufacturing provides the highest payroll in St. Charles County. Drachnik said one manufacturer offered to grab up all 30 positions.

“Manufacturing is alive and well in the St. Charles County so I wanted to share the love and not let them monopolize,” Drachnik said. 

There will be a newness and an excitement to it but the new program is similar to programs the Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County have had in the past.

“It will work similar,” Drachnik said. “But it’s not the same certification or the same funding and backing from the state.”

For more information about program requirements and eligibility, view the Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County’s “Apprenticeship FAQs for Employers & Job Seekers” brochure online at

Interested in pursuing a new career and credentialed training in manufacturing? Or are you a company that would like to participate in the new apprenticeship program? Contact Vicki Swartzenberg at 636-255-6060 ext. 5250, email or visit the Missouri Job Center of St. Charles County at 212 Turner Boulevard in St. Peters.

CUTLINE: Photos by Ray Rockwell