photo of domenick muoio

Domenick Muoio hit the ground running last January as one of the newest members of Montgomery Community College’s workforce development team.

He’s the Apprenticeship Coordinator for the 10-county South Central North Carolina region and has been burning up the road between MCC and constituent counties evangelizing apprenticeship to employers and community colleges.

“I’m fired up about apprenticeship,” said Muoio, who is a graduate of East Carolina University and has a background in sales and business development.

“Training is a critical part of any work, and employers are already doing it. Why not explore the benefits of apprenticeships?” he said.

As coordinator, Muoio serves as liaison between local businesses and community colleges to establish apprenticeships for employers. He introduces businesses to the concept and advantages of apprenticeship and matches apprentice education with programs offered at local community colleges.

What is ApprenticeshipNC?

ApprenticeshipNC is an employer-driven model that combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction. It allows businesses to creatively and effectively hire and train talent for their industry.

“There are over 1300 apprentice occupations,” Muoio said. “Our goal is to get the word out to employers who are looking for ways to recruit and retain new employees.”

Depending on the employer, the level of required technical education, and the design of the program, apprenticeships can be attractive to specific groups such as an employer’s existing workforce, veterans, high school or college students.

One employer in Montgomery County, Autumn Care of Biscoe, is taking advantage of apprenticeships to train its existing hospitality aides to become nursing assistants.

“We were looking to partner with MCC to do a nursing assistant class that we would sponsor for our hospitality aide applicants,” said Autumn Care Director Onji Madison, RN, LNHA. Autumn Care would vet the applicants, pay for their education, and increase their wages once they passed the nurse aide registry exam. That is when Muoio proposed an apprenticeship program as a training alternative.

Autumn Care could dictate the terms of the program and in return, a Department of Labor grant would help cover the cost of the students’ education.

Autumn Care’s apprenticeship includes three months of classroom instruction, including clinical practice on-site at Autumn Care. Students can work as hospitality aides outside of classroom and clinical hours. Upon successful completion, students earn a Nursing Assistant I credential, a CPR credential, and an ApprenticeshipNC Journey worker’s credential.

The program benefits both the employer and the apprentice.

“For Autumn Care, it’s about growing our own,” said Madison. “Where the market for nursing assistants is shallow for our area, we have the ability to bring staff in and give them the training they need to grow into a CNA (certified nursing assistant),” she said.

The apprentice/employee has a job while their education is being funded and for two years after they complete the nursing assistant class. If they pass their registry exam, they will earn a higher wage as a CNA. There is a two-year commitment once they enter the program.

Apprenticeships are a growing training alternative in North Carolina and Muoio is leading the effort in the south central region. Muoio said he is able to visit with employers and be very responsive to their individual training needs.

“The only stipulation is that the process moves as quickly as the employer needs it to,” said Muoio.

The employer customizes the program for each job title. The employer dictates the work processes, the job duties, and the type of education required. Autumn Care currently has six apprentices under a single job title, and their program was set up very quickly.

“With the support and guidance of Domenick, the program wasn’t difficult at all to set up,” said Madison. “I would recommend the apprentice program because it gives employers an avenue to attract staff that want to grow in the field. It gives our current staff the opportunity to further their education as well,” she said.

For more information about apprenticeships contact Domenick Muoio at 910-898-9676 or email muoiod9208@montgomery.edu.

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