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New Apprenticeship Program Seeks to Fill Employment Gap

Published on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

New Apprenticeship Program Seeks to Fill Employment Gap

New Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program at Parkland

 

   A new apprenticeship program taking place at Parkland College is looking for more students to train as surveyor and mapping technicians to fill a growing job demand.   

Developed in partnership with the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association (IPLSA), the first-in-the-nation Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program is a two-year, U.S. Department of Labor-recognized apprenticeship program in which apprentices train to become surveyor technicians. These technicians assist professional land surveyors in collecting information about boundaries, terrain and property lines.

Once admitted to the program, apprentices begin a 90-day, no fault probationary period in which the apprentice or the employer can terminate participation without repercussion.

Training consists of on-the-job learning blended with online coursework and 13 in-person labs provided by Parkland College. Apprentices are expected to take and pass the Certified Survey Technician (CST) Level I or Level II exam in order to complete the program.

During the program, apprentices are paid a minimum of $15 per hour. Upon successful completion, the apprentice is guaranteed employment and a minimum salary of $17 per hour. Program graduates also have the option to continue their education and become fully licensed surveyors. All instruction provided by Parkland College may be applied toward a bachelor’s degree.

Employers who participate in the Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program are required to pay for the education-related expenses. Employers are eligible to receive tax credits for their expenses through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) new Apprenticeship Education Expense Tax Credit Program. Employers must apply to DCEO to be eligible to take part in the tax credit program, which is currently capped at $5 million annually.

The inaugural class started at the end of August. IPLSA is currently taking applications for next year’s class, set to start at the end of August, according to IPLSA Executive Director Kim Robinson.

“It’s really exciting to see this come to fruition,” Robinson said. “This is something that we have been working on for two years now. We’ve heard from our members that they are facing serious workforce shortages. This program is designed to fill that void. Other states have heard about what we’re doing and now they’re looking into starting their own apprenticeship programs.”

“The apprenticeship program is off to a great start,” said Jeff Rohde, a surveyor at Willett Hofmann & Associates. “This program will give employees the knowledge they need to get up to speed faster.” Willett Hofmann Apprentice Travis Keller agrees. “The apprenticeship program has been a huge benefit for me. Our instructor does a very nice job helping us work through problems and is always available to provide guidance on anything that’s confusing."

The growing national shortage of both surveyors and technicians is expected to continue. The surveying profession is confronting a wave of retirements in the coming years, and both new surveyors and technicians will be needed to keep pace with demand.

Potential apprentices can upload their resume for free by visiting the apprenticeship page on IPLSA’s website. Employers can upload job postings for apprentices there as well.

IPLSA is a not-for-profit organization representing the interests of the surveying profession in Illinois. Their mission includes the advancement of the land surveying profession by promoting high standards of practice and conduct, by upholding the Illinois Land Surveyors Act and by supporting and encouraging members through continuing education, professional association, and the use of current technology.

To learn more about the Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program, please visit IPLSA's website at iplsa.org, or email apprentice@iplsa.org.

  

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