Gov. Lee visits trade apprenticeship boot camp in Memphis

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:54 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:12 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee wants an accelerated apprenticeship program in Memphis to become the model for the entire state.

Lee visited the program Wednesday which trains people to start an apprenticeship in the electrical field.

Students started an eight week boot camp Monday and when it’s all done they’ll be certified to start the apprenticeship in the trade.

Students are paid for the boot camp provided by UpSmith and the Associated Builders and Contractors of West Tennessee.

Lee says this kind of program is funded by both the public and private sector -- a model he hopes will catch on and improve workforce development in the state.

It’s a top priority of Lee’s.

“We should attack that on many fronts. We’re doing it in our public schools, in our TCATs, colleges of technology where we invested $200 million this year to expand these types of programs. We’re doing it in this example with a private sector partnership,” said Lee.

“To have a trade and be an electrician or a welder or anything in eight weeks and be fully successful and be prepared that’s unheard of so I know that will be something great,” said Keith Reynolds, an apprenticeship student. “Everybody doesn’t have the time or the funds to prepare for eight weeks so this opportunity is rare. 16

Lee says West Tennessee needs a skilled workforce to fill technology jobs especially as Ford’s Blue Oval City gets off the ground.

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