National Apprenticeship Week

Spotlight on West Michigan Apprentices

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we talked with four individuals in West Michigan about their apprenticeship experiences.
Check out our apprentice spotlights below!

Apprenticeships provide the opportunity to learn the skills for a new career while earning a wage. Apprenticeships offer many benefits, including:

– an earn-while-you-learn opportunity
– hands-on career training
– an education and potential to earn college credit
– a career once you complete the apprenticeship
– national certification in your industry

Apprentice at Digital Tool & Die

Travis Walton

Apprentice with Digital Tool & Die

“I would highly recommend it [apprenticeship]! I say that because…if you’re not really sure what you want to do with your life, but you kind of have a bit of a direction, like me. I didn’t want to go into tool and die, I wanted to work in computers. I was able to do what I wanted to at a location where those skills applied. It [apprenticeship] offers a lot of opportunity, and even if it’s not computer-related, just being able to have the certificate that is recognized everywhere creates a lot of opportunities.

This apprenticeship has allowed me to take over everything IT-related at my place of work. There was an issue here, not even a month ago, that I happened to be learning about in class at that time. We had an outside IT company that couldn’t figure out the issue, and we even had their engineer out here and they couldn’t figure out the issue. It just so happened that one class I was in, that very issue came up and I knew exactly how to solve it!”

Mercy MA Apprentice Roedes

Irene Roede

Medical Assistant Apprentice with Mercy Health

“I have worked at Mercy Health as a business office coordinator but have always had an interest in the clinical side of things.  I was always asking the nurses about this and that and googling things about their role. So, I was super excited to hear about the program and that there was a path I could take that seemed attainable. I like the busyness, more interaction with patients and the gratification of knowing you are helping someone along the way! It’s been a really great experience, the opportunities feel endless as there are so many different avenues that I can go into now, I am absorbing it all and learning all I can.”

Feyen-Zylstra Apprentice

Zach Drost

Apprentice with Feyen-Zylstra

“One cool thing that I didn’t really expect to see from an apprenticeship is that all along in my previous schooling I was always challenged mentally, and that was always good for how I learn. But I found that once I got into this apprenticeship, I was challenged both mentally and physically at the same time, meaning you are physically doing the work and you need to envision what needs to be powered, where power needs to come from. I found that once I was challenged mentally and physically, it really helped my learning style. Just taking classes was always good and I was learning from that, but I was never truly thriving in it, and I don’t feel like I was progressing like I am in this apprenticeship.”

Apprentice at TGW

Jacob VanderVeen

Apprentice with TGW

Jacob on the key to success in any Registered Apprenticeship Program:

“It only has to do with you, 100%. If you’re looking to become an apprentice, you need to possess the drive, but all the other tools and know-how is going to be taught to you. You just need to show that you can handle what they are throwing at you…actually, it’s not even that you can handle it, it’s more than you can TRY to handle it. They don’t expect you to know any of this stuff coming in. They just want to see that you will TRY to get it done.”