STAR selected for Apprentice Ambassador program

·2 min read

Jul. 21—STAR of Coastal Georgia has been selected to serve in a program designed to create a workforce strategy in high-demand industries and expand opportunities for people historically under served.

The U.S. Department of Labor selected the organization to participate in the Apprenticeship Ambassador program. It is designed to bring industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders together to partner with the Labor Department's Office of Apprenticeship.

STAR of Coastal Georgia is a not-for-profit organization created 25 years ago to educate and empower people with the foundational skills needed to thrive personally and professionally. Training programs offered through the organization are designed to "enhance the overall stability of students and their families," and to improve the quality of the local workforce.

Markisha Butler, executive director of STAR of Coastal Georgia, said in an interview Wednesday the selection adds credibility to her organization that offers computer skills, financial and career workshops designed to help students hope, believe, grow and succeed.

"As a former regional apprenticeship coordinator with Georgia Department of Economic Development, I know firsthand the benefits of apprenticeship," Butler said. "STAR sought the opportunity to serve as an Apprenticeship Ambassador as a viable means to help address the workforce shortage and expose individuals from underrepresented/underserved populations to untapped career opportunities."

Butler said the program is an employer-driven training model that combines on-the-job training with job-related instruction. She describes the program as a '"win-win" for participants and employers.

Some of the benefits include developing a highly skilled workforce, flexible training options designed to meet employers' needs, recruiting job candidates, reducing worker turnover, increased job performance and retention, and greater employee loyalty.

Participants get hands-on training, more pay as skills and knowledge improve, education and potential college credit, and a career upon apprenticeship completion.

"The goal is to attract other organizations to do the same and create a stronger workforce," Butler said.

It helps bring more credibility to the organization, expand the network, and diversify the workforce, she said.

"Our programs will be enhanced as we will work closely with businesses and educational institutions to provide training in the area of employability skills, customer service, computer literacy, employment readiness and more," Butler said. "We can customize our training for the needs of the employer and apprentice."