Virginia Commonwealth University has piloted two programs that help provide participants with skills and certifications to advance their careers in construction training. The VCU Facilities Management Apprenticeship Program was created in 2017 in attempts to help increase the talent pool of skilled workers around the university. The program consists of structured on-the-job training and technical education that mixes both a work environment and classroom environment over the span of four years.
They work as full-time university and academic professional employees with salary and benefits, learning from licensed journeymen, mentors, supervisors and other Facilities Management employees to gain the skills and knowledge to become highly qualified in their trade. The apprentices also learn various codes, safety rules, regulations and procedures, appropriate use of tools, how to read and interpret documentation, troubleshooting, teamwork and communication skills.
Upon completion participants receive industry certifications as well as being first-aid and CPR certified. The program has helped place over 100 participants with full time positions whom many have stayed on and moved up within their respective companies. Many students have little to no construction experience though they attribute the thoroughness of the program as one of the reasons for their later success.