Governor Pillen attends GISH apprenticeship signing

Local4 News at 5
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 11:12 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - High school juniors signed up for apprenticeships in front of a special guest. Governor Jim Pillen attended Grand Island Senior High’s apprenticeship signing day.

The program started in 2017 with only one business partner, but now has over 20. This year the school had a record 14 students sign up for apprenticeships. Governor Pillen believes Grand Island is a model for supplying the workforce.

“This event is exactly what has to happen in every community and we have to scale it and grow it,” Governor Pillen said. “All of us Nebraskans agree our kids are our future. It’s important we get the message out across the state to all business owners, farmers, and ranchers that we have do things differently.”

Governor Pillen said the way to get more businesses involved is to have a strategic plan to get everyone on the same page. For those starting their apprenticeships this summer, school officials feel this a great way for students to apply their knowledge.

“It really is a great opportunity for them to take the skills that they’ve been learning in the classroom and put them to work on the job,” Interim Superintendent Matt Fisher said. “It give them a great opportunity to really see what a workplace looks like for the career that they’re pursing.”

Fisher said apprenticeships give students a chance to interact with those in their career field. One student feels it’s a way to get your foot in the door.

“Just having experience of actually being in the workforce and not just in a classroom,” Caleb Eilers, Junior at Grand Island Senior High, said. “But you get to actually work with people in the workforce, and you get to make money while you’re learning so it’s a win-win”

Eilers said he will working in mechanics with Bobcat. He choose mechanics because he’s already use to working on equipment with his father on their farm.

This is the first year Bobcat is participating in the program, making Eilers their first apprentice. Governor Pillen highlights the importance of educational growth in Nebraska.

“The first step is making sure we get our tax policy competitive,” Governor Pillen said. “We’ve been chasing people away for year now because our income tax is too high and our property tax. So we’re changing education funding so we go from 49th to 25th in how we fund education from the state.”

Governor Pillen said to make this happen there are some priority bills in legislative that need to pass. The bills aim to reduce income tax and other state issued taxes such as property tax. Adding, those bills should be decided on in early June. Meanwhile, school officials continue to look for ways to grow the apprenticeship program.

“Well I think that we’re always looking for additional partners and I think each of the academies are looking for partners that they can put in place that will ultimately provide these apprenticeship opportunities,” Fisher said.

Fisher said GIPS is always looking to expand the career paths that offer apprenticeships.