Beginning this fall, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said, students enrolled in an automotive or diesel technology program with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System “can apply to gain paid, hands-on experience with local Department of Highways maintenance garages.”
The KYTC said its new Transportation Mechanic Apprenticeship Program is the state’s first automotive technician apprenticeship program registered with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Apprenticeship. It added that the program “presents a unique opportunity for high school graduates entering the workforce and for individuals seeking a new career pathway.”
Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas said that “partnering with KCTCS to provide an automotive technician apprenticeship program benefits Kentucky’s workforce and assists our KYTC mission. TMAP apprentices will help maintain and repair the equipment our road crews use to provide a safe and reliable transportation system for all who travel Kentucky’s roadways. TMAP also offers opportunities for Kentuckians to improve their quality of life through practical training as they work toward their associate’s degree.”
The announcement noted that whether apprentices continue their careers with the KYTC after graduating from the program or decide to pursue work elsewhere, they will have nationally recognized certification to show future employers.
For the department, the program helps meet a need for workers across Kentucky who possess the skills specific to those vehicle maintenance trades. It said a Kentucky Occupational Outlook report indicates that through 2024 demand will rise by 11.5 percent for automotive service technicians and mechanics, and by 22.5 percent for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists.
Ramona Brock, KYTC apprenticeship program coordinator, said: “The statewide availability of KYTC’s apprenticeship program locations offers Kentuckians seeking a career the convenience of not having to commute long distances. Transportation maintenance garages are located in all 12 districts, and KCTCS provides an automotive program in every district and a diesel technology program in nine of the 12 districts.”
To be considered for the KYTC program, the agency said a person “must be at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver’s license, have an acceptable criminal record report and be enrolled in an automotive or diesel technology program through KCTCS.”
Apprentices will gain 2,000 hours of combined coursework and hands-on experience over a period of two years and be subject to a four-month probationary period. “Work ethic and willingness to learn and take direction are necessary for satisfactory completion of the program,” the department said.
As for pay, it said the apprentices “will receive increasing pay opportunities, starting at $9.50 per hour and potentially advancing to $14.42 upon graduating.”