GARRETT, Ind. (WANE) – Garrett High school is expecting 40 juniors and seniors to sign up for a new paid welding apprenticeship program created by Northeast Indiana Works and Garrett High School on Sept. 17.

The up to three-year welding apprenticeship, approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), is an extension of an existing State Earn and Learn (SEAL) career development welding program at Garrett, Northeast Indiana Works said. It is just the third and largest registered apprenticeship in Indiana supported by a workforce development board.

The competency-based apprenticeship will include at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning and a minimum of 634 hours of related instruction provided by Ivy Tech Community College at Garrett High School. Northeast Indiana Works said apprentices completing the program will have demonstrated proficiency in 42 competencies, earned a number of industry-recognized certificates and acquired 21 Ivy Tech college credits.

“This DOL youth welding apprenticeship program with Garrett High School serves as a model for all Indiana regional Workforce Development Boards on how to best collaborate, engage employers, and build high-quality work-based learning opportunities for students that will launch careers,” said Matt Presley, regional director of the state’s Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship.

Northeast Indiana Works said eight employers have signed up to provide on-the-job learning for the Garrett apprentices: Metal Technologies Inc. (MTI), TFC Canopy, and Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 166, which also has an articulation agreement with five employers who have agreed to take on Garrett welding apprentices.

Kent Prosser, business manager at Local 166, said the apprentice program will be an integral part of the local’s recruitment process “and more importantly streamlining our recruitment process. Students have the chance to be under the wing of a journeyman and contractor and that could set them up for a lifelong career.”