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MAC, Lee Mechanical partner on welding apprenticeships
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MAC, Lee Mechanical partner on welding apprenticeships

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MAC and Lee Mechanical Contractors partner on welding apprenticeships

Aaron Willard, Lee Mechanical Contractors human resource manager, left, presents welding apprentice Martin Hierro with his certificate of completion.

With the assistance of the Apprenticeship USA grant in 2017, Mineral Area College partnered with Lee Mechanical Contractors to develop a Registered Apprenticeship in Welding. Three and a half years later, they are now celebrating the first completed apprentice.

Martin Hierro is a true success story for himself and for Lee Mechanical Contractors.

According to Lee Mechanical Contractors HR Manager, Aaron Willard, “Martin’s hard work, dedication and attitude from the program has been exemplary. I’m glad he is the first person to complete the program because his journey with Lee Mechanical is truly a great story.”

Hierro's journey began by attending free community welding classes offered by Lee Mechanical Contractors. He continued with the classes until he was skilled enough to be offered a job at Lee, and subsequently selected to become a welding apprentice. Through the apprenticeship, he was able to build his skill set, earn industry credentials, and increase his wages.

Now Mineral Area College and Lee Mechanical Contractors are excited to expand on their partnership.

A new Welding Pre-Apprenticeship program is beginning in February, through the Department of Labor’s MoAMP grant. Along with Lee Mechanical’s free welding classes, individuals can enroll in the new pre-apprenticeship program, which will provide the opportunity to build the skills necessary to apply for a position as a registered apprentice.

The Welding Pre-Apprenticeship classes will be held on Wednesday evenings from 4 to 9 p.m. at MAC’s North College Center. Classes will include Safety (earning an OSHA-10 card), Blueprint Reading, Hand Tools, Basic Measurement, Technical Math, and Teamwork.

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Hands-on welding classes are held at Lee Mechanical Contractors in Park Hills on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. To register for the Welding Pre-apprenticeship, contact Stacey Wideman, MoAMP support specialist at 573-518-2145 or

Michele Shore, Mineral Area College director of Workforce Development, is excited about the opportunities available through the Department of Labor’s MoAMP grant. The program will help unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers to learn skills, earn credentials and degrees for various high-demand and middle-skills occupations within the advanced manufacturing sector.

“Through MoAMP, MAC is able to assist local employers with obtaining and developing skilled workers,” Shore said. “In many cases, even the cost of training can be covered under the grant.”

As a Registered Apprenticeship sponsor, the college can partner with companies to develop and implement apprenticeship programs, while also providing educational resources.

“Through the current MoAMP grant, local companies have a great opportunity to retain talent by upskilling their workforce and also diversify their talent pool with little to no cost,” said Shore.

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 is:

  • a flexible training model that can be customized to meet the needs of every business and industry.
  • a viable tool for the state to use to give Missourians the necessary skills to succeed.
  • an affordable approach to training and education for the employer and the job seeker.
  • an opportunity to earn a paycheck while learning from day one, reducing the potential to take on student debt.

For more information about apprenticeships at Mineral Area College, contact Michele Shore, 573-518-2234 or

Nikki Overfelt is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at


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