Pelco Apprenticeship

Pelco Structural has signed four new apprentice welders from Northeast Technology Center, through the Oklahoma Works Apprenticeship Program. Standing: (L-R) Pelco Chairman, Phil Parduhn; Jared Girten NTC-Business and Industrial Services; Pelco Quality Supervisor, Juston Davis; Jenna Morey, State Director of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning; Pelco HR Director, Jeanine Coleman; Cherokee Tribal Councilman, Keith Austin and Pelco President, Phil Albert

CLAREMORE, Okla.— Pelco Structural has announced their new partnership with Oklahoma Works, Northeast Technology Center and the Cherokee Nation, to offer apprenticeships to help qualified students gain on-the-job training.

On April 27, 2018, Governor, Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 1171 which established a work-based learning program. The bill appropriates $850,000 annually to fund a work-based learning program. The money comes from revolving funds from the Office of the Secretary of State. The goal of the state’s “Earn and Learn Oklahoma” program is to increase the number of registered apprenticeships and internships in the state to 20,000 per year by 2020.

The Oklahoma Apprenticeship Program brings together resources, education, training and job opportunities to provide paid work combined with education so candidates can acquire the knowledge and skills specific to their workplace with the intent of building of the state’s ideal workforce.

“We’re excited about this, very excited about this,” said Phil Albert, President of Pelco Structural. “This is our inaugural apprentice class. It starts with four individuals, three men and a woman.”

Pelco’s new apprentices are Justin Copeland, 30, of Owasso; Justin Corely, 21, of Verdigris; Taylor Bailey, 27, of Tulsa and Edan Cole, 21, of Sand Springs. All four are from Northeast Technology Center’s welding program. Each candidate signs a one-year agreement to complete the program.

The students will undergo a 4-week training program.

“We’ll do 160 hours total,” says Jared Girten, of NTC’s Business and Industrial Services Department. “We’ll go Monday through Thursday, 10-hour days. We’ll do three weeks, take a week off around the fourth of July and then come back to the facility.”

During the fourth week the students will return to Pelco to shadow some of the employees to ask questions and brush up on areas they need more work on.

“One of the criticisms I’ve had personally from career staff is that it’s (training) not relevant to my business,” said Albert. “Let me just tell you, NTC has addressed that issue.”

Several NTC instructors spent four weeks at Pelco learning about their processes and products in order to provide the students with the same kind of training Pelco would have given them.

According to Albert, one of the biggest challenges for businesses, is getting people who want to be a part of the business and then making sure that they are competent.

”Our business is a team sport,” says Albert. “And our special sauce is our human resources, our people.”