STANORD, Ill. — For those that don’t know, the week of Nov. 11 is National Apprenticeship Week.
In honor of the week, Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Bloomington Alderman Mboka Mwilambwe came together at the Illinois Laborers & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship & Training School Wednesday morning to recognize the Stanford School program. The apprenticeship program offers people a cheap route to a well-paying job.
The Stanford School is one of four facilities operated by the Illinois Laborers & Contractors in downstate Illinois. The Stanford facility was formerly the Stanford Grade School. Currently, approximately 460 apprentices are enrolled in the downstate program.
“We teach them just about everything they need to know to go out and have a productive job with benefits, we give them a little bit of training, I guess in each division, concrete, asphalt, asbestos removal so they’re a well-rounded laborer,” said Ron Litherland, Laborers Training Fund Administrator.
Mayor Koos says one of the main highlights of the program is having no tuition or book costs.
“When you’re done with this program you don’t have 10, 15, $20,000 of debt and you have a job that pays equal to what a college graduate would make,” said Koos.
The program requires apprentices to complete 200 hours of classroom training, along with 1,000 hours of on the job experience annually.
People in the program say they enjoy the work that they do.
“You also feel good about the work that you’re doing because we’re doing the roads that our kids drive on, we’re doing schools that our kids go to and there’s a sense of pride in the jobs that we do,” said Labor Apprentice Andrew Thomas.