COTC Launches Paid Apprenticeship with AEP

First apprentice cohort announced

NEWARK, Ohio, Feb. 26, 2019 – Central Ohio Technical College's (COTC) new paid apprenticeship will provide a path to high-wage skilled jobs for central Ohioans. The two-year college is partnering with American Electric Power (AEP) and Apex Systems, a division of the nation's second largest staffing and services company in the United States.

The hybrid-model transmission dispatcher apprenticeship will combine job-related credit courses at COTC with paid on-the-job training at AEP. The apprenticeship is currently designed to be completed in 18 months (four semesters), with cohorts beginning annually in January and concluding in May of the following year. Apprentices will work 20 hours per week at AEP while also attending classes full-time at COTC. At the apprenticeship's conclusion, graduates will be well positioned for job opportunities within the power utility industry, including AEP Transmission.

COTC's inaugural cohort began their apprenticeships at AEP in January 2019.

The apprentices are:
Nathan Brechler, Utica; Adam Hardy, Newark; Ian Hooper, Granville; Molly Kistler, Newcomerstown; Josh Rowland, Newark and Benjamin Schulte, Heath.

AEP 1.jpg

"I've always been good with, and had an interest in, science and math. So, selecting my degree through COTC was easy," said Benjamin Schulte. "When I heard about the apprenticeship I knew I couldn't pass up the chance to work with such an amazing staff and facility. I am greatly anticipating the knowledge and experience I'll gain through this incredible opportunity. AEP is definitely a prestigious company that I am proud to be working for."

AEP 2.jpgCOTC was chosen as one of only three technical and community colleges nationwide to partner with Apex to deliver this AEP apprenticeship. In addition to COTC, Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas; and New River Community College in Roanoke, Va., will also offer customized apprenticeships with AEP Transmission designed to match local market needs. AEP Transmission developed the curriculum in collaboration with all three schools, reflecting the role of a dispatch operator.

AEP 3.jpg

Apprenticeships are highly desirable to students because they offer specialized technical instruction and an inside track to high-demand careers. They also offer students a paycheck while receiving hands-on training at an industry site. Businesses use apprenticeships to recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce.

"As many of our workers prepare to retire over the next several years, we need to ensure we have qualified and capable people ready to step into these important operational roles," said David Ball, managing director of AEP Transmission Operations. "The dispatcher apprenticeship program with Apex and COTC requires advanced technical skills and is a great tool to prepare dispatchers for future roles in our industry."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in many occupations with apprenticeships to grow at least as fast as the average for all occupations—if not faster—from 2016–26. *

"Many of today's in-demand jobs do not require a four-year degree," said COTC President John M. Berry, Ph.D. "An increasing number of jobs require specialized technical instruction and relevant hands-on training. We are thrilled at the prospect of partnering with AEP and Apex to offer this very exciting career path."

"As technology changes, so do the needs of our clients and of the energy industry. Partnering with COTC and AEP enables Apex to support the next generation of workers and the demands of the marketplace by helping to close the gap in worker skills and credentials," said Rob Lowry, executive vice president at Apex. "COTC is a great location for this apprenticeship program for both its close proximity to AEP's New Albany site and their strong workforce training program."

To be considered for the apprenticeship, students must apply and be admitted to COTC and enroll in the college's Electrical Engineering Technology associate degree program.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.


Top: Left to right: COTC students in the inaugural AEP/APEX apprentice cohort: Adam Hardy, Molly Kistler and Ian Hooper.

Middle: Apprentices Benjamin Schulte and Josh Rowland.

Bottom: Apprentice Nathan Brechler.