Learn about the demand for apprenticeships in the Valley

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Throughout the last year, we have shown you career opportunities in the Valley --from welding, to driving trucks, and repairing cell phone towers. What it takes to get these jobs may surprise you.

"Trade school didn't really prepare me for the job I have now," said Leonard Scott who works at Innovative Refrigeration.

We recently sat down with a panel of people from across the Valley who have different jobs. There is one thing they all have in common; each either went through or is going through an apprenticeship program.

Sherry Offield is maintenance coordinator for HB Maintenance.
Her apprenticeship lasted three years.

"Benefited me and moved me up to supervisor position; it is really easy and it is learning experience,' said Offield. "It gets you hands on and it is great."

The Governor's Office has reinforced the importance of apprenticeships. Data shows by 2022, 1.43 million new jobs will be added, and between 50-65 percent of those will need technical training.

Several companies in the Valley offer their own apprenticeship programs. Leonard Scott works as a welder at Innovative Refrigeration, which has it's own program.

"My instructor is on the job so if I need anything I can just call them up," said Scott.

Other programs might require you to take some classes a couple of times a week at night after you get off from work. Mitchell Atkins, who now works at Andros Foods as a General Maintenance Mechanic, started taking classes when he was in high school.

"When you are in high school it is part of your schooling," said Atkins. "So half the day you are at a technical school, and the other half of the day you are at the high school."

And the popularity and importance of apprenticeships is growing. Recently the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Board got a $4 million grant from the Department of Labor to support 600 future employees as registered apprentices.

It shows that one can get a high-paying job, without the student loan debt in college, and get the hands-on experience you need to learn and land a job.

Learn more about this position:
Info [ here ].

Shenandoah Valley Education and Training Database:
Info [ here ].

Find a Job in Virginia:
Info [ here ].

Resources for Valley High School Students:
Info [ here ].

Career Services at local Colleges or Universities:
Info [ here ].

Shenandoah Valley Workforce:
Info [ here ].