Joplin Manufacturers Use Apprenticeship Programs | KSNF/CODE


ANDERSON, Mo. – If there’s one thing that manufacturing companies across the four states need most right now, it’s their well-trained employees.

With the help of a local high school and college, they now have a path for future employees.

A local company, high school and college join forces to create a career path for high school students that will allow them to earn money while they study.

Students at McDonald County High School can now work on an apprenticeship program at Cooper Gear in Anderson as early as junior year and complete it in as little as two years after graduation.

According to Shawn Cooper, the program is a win-win because it offers students a manufacturing career path and provides his company with highly skilled machinists.

“We hope that as the program progresses through completion, they will not only have an apprentice coding certification, but also a CAD certification from Crowder and will be a very, very marketable candidate for any CNC job across the country,” said Cooper.

To complete the internship program, students must complete additional training in computer-aided drafting or CAD, which they can obtain through Crowder College while still working for their employer, in this case Cooper Gear.

“And that is the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is an employee that the company invests in to help them develop more skills,” said Dr. Katricia Pierson, President of Crowder College.

Tyler Allgood is the first to complete his US Department of Labor apprenticeship certification through the company and says he wishes the program had been available when he was in high school a few years ago, but he would encourage current students to to deal with the program.

“I’ve always seen it that way, either going to college or getting a job. Well, now you can get a degree to learn a trade and it’s a lot more accessible. You don’t have to do both. You now get the best of both worlds because now you have a degree in what you want to do and then you have the manual skills as well. You get both and you don’t have to choose,” Allgood said.

Cooper Gear manufactures precision parts used in commercial and military vehicles.


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