Gold Star Program
American River College
American River College (ARC) earned Strong Workforce Gold Star recognition in the Energy, Construction, and Utilities sector for its Electrical Apprenticeship program. The Gold Star is the Strong Workforce Stars’ highest recognition and is awarded to career education programs that meet each of three criteria related to student outcomes that help move the needle on workforce development. Specifically, students who participate in this program boost their earnings by 82%, 86% attain the regional living wage, and 100% report securing a job closely related to field of study.
This industry-driven program is the largest Electrical Apprenticeship in the Sacramento area, and ARC works directly in partnership with an electrical training center to deliver on the apprenticeship model. Electrical Apprenticeship students train off-campus with a college-approved instructor who engages students at the training center. Once students successfully complete their training, they transition to become journeymen, are automatically part of the union, and are directly placed into union jobs. ARC’s electrical apprentices are therefore provided direct entry into the profession, which is why 100% of their students get a job in their field of study.
The Electrical Apprenticeship program is supported by the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) composed of voting members (contractors and labor) and advisory members, including the ARC apprenticeship coordinator, division of apprenticeship standards consultants, and training director. The JATC meets on a monthly basis, with part of their agenda dedicated to a review of student performance with the Electrical Apprenticeship instructor. Meeting this consistently has helped in early identification of students who may be struggling and deciding on a best course of action to help them stay on track and complete.
In the greater Sacramento region, there has been a notable shift in the economy resulting in a housing boom and demand for construction. The Center of Excellence published a detailed report of the construction industry and indicated a significant gap between skilled workforce and demand. With more jobs available, students successfully completing the Electrical Apprenticeship program have experienced an increase in earnings and immediate job placement. In response to this greater demand, the program has expanded and experienced an influx of students each year. The program has also been proactive in enhancing their capacity to serve more students. Their partner, the Sacramento Electrical Training Center, is currently constructing a new location which doubles the square footage of their existing training site, and will be able to train twice the number of ARCs electrical apprentices.