Joliet Junior College Hosts National Apprenticeship Week Event

Joliet Junior College hosted an Apprenticeship Kick-Off event during National Apprenticeship Week to educate businesses about the benefits of a registered apprenticeship program.

Register apprenticeship certificate JJC
Back Row (L-R): Ronda Kliman, DOL; JJC's Paul
Cave, Anne Esquivel, Melissa Lachcik, Lisa Perkins. 
Front row: JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell, Dean
Amy Murphy

The event was held on Thursday, Nov. 14 at JJC’s Main Campus. Over 40 companies representing various industry sectors from manufacturing, culinary arts and hospitality to landscaping and healthcare were in attendance.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and local workforce boards attended the event.

The DOL announced a new registered apprenticeship program in culinary arts, hospitality and manufacturing at JJC. The college was recognized with a certificate as a registered apprenticeship program sponsor from the DOL. 

During the event, area companies Tangled Roots Brewing Company and Logoplaste officially signed on to be a part of the registered apprenticeship program at JJC. These companies represent culinary arts, hospitality and manufacturing, respectively, and are ready for their apprentices to start their classroom instruction in January. 

Scott Struchen, chief operations officer of Tangled Roots Brewing Company, shared that his company is participating in the program to show employees the career pathway in the hospitality industry.

Apprenticeship event - Tangled Roots
Back Row (L-R): Dean Amy Murphy, Matt Mockler,
Tangled Roots Brewing , Ronda Kliman, US-DOL.
Front Row: Scott Struchen, Tangled Roots Brewing,
and first program sponsored apprentice Jordan

“If you can show your employees that you are invested in them and want to see them grow within the company, you have a better chance of retention,” Struchen said.

Ben Hutchinson, operations manager and Tony Traina, engineering manager from Metalstamp, Inc. also shared their perspectives. They said a registered apprenticeship program has helped their company build a loyal workforce and ensure that knowledge is transferred from journeyman to apprentice.

The DCEO presented an official proclamation from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to JJC and the companies that participated in the signing event. Callan Eschenburg, project manager of apprenticeships with the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C., also attended the event.

JJC’s Apprenticeship Kick-Off was held in partnership with Workforce Investment Board of Will County and Workforce Board of Grundy Livingston and Kankakee County.

According to the DOL, apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway in which workers can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a transferable credential while job creators develop and prepare their future workforce.

Apprenticeship event - Logopaste
Back Row: Dean Amy Murphy, Veronica Schmitz,
Logoplaste; Ronda Kliman, US-DOL. Front Row:
Ana Sousa and Louis Bell Jr., Logoplaste.

The benefits of apprenticeship are substantial for both job seekers and job creators. These “earn and learn” models enable employers to fill open jobs, improve productivity and profitability, and reduce turnover while providing the American workforce with pathways to start new careers and acquire the skills needed for good jobs.

JJC has a three-year, apprenticeship grant through the American Association of Community Colleges’ Expanding Community College Apprenticeships initiative. This grant provides JJC with an opportunity to assist the local workforce by growing the number of registered apprenticeships through the DOL.

“The goal of our event was to raise awareness about the benefits that registered apprenticeship programs can bring to our area,” said Amy Murphy, Dean, applied arts, workforce education and training at JJC. “We were thrilled at the number of companies that attended our event to find out how JJC can be a resource for this important initiative, and the number of companies who have requested follow-up meetings to explore this program further.”

The fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week (November 11-17) was a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor that brings together leaders in business, labor, and education to showcase the impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

View a photo gallery from JJC’s Apprenticeship Kick-Off event.

For more information about the Registered Apprenticeship program at JJC, email or call 815-280-6743.

For media inquiries, contact JJC Communications and Media Coordinator Scott Harvey at 815-280-2844 or