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(left to right): George Laffoon, DCCCD; John Kuznar, field representative for the U.S. Department of Labor; Paul Mayer, CEO, Garland Chamber of Commerce; Cynthia Brink, DCCCD; and Anita Bedford, DCCCD.

​Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — Nov. 19, 2018

(DALLAS) — On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the U.S. Department of Labor recognized two registered apprenticeship projects in partnership with the Dallas County Community College District: the Dallas County Manufacturers Association Manufacturing Consortium and the ACE Logistics Consortium with KLLM Driving Academy and FFE (Frozen Food Express). Both projects were in the spotlight as part of National Apprenticeship Week and Texas Apprenticeship Week.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation recognizing Nov. 12-16, 2018, as Texas Apprenticeship Week to focus on the importance of apprenticeship programs and cutting-edge workforce development efforts in the state. “Texas leads the nation in job creation because we empower workers and employers alike to innovate, cooperate and maximize their potential,” said Abbott.

“DCCCD is committed to partnering with the Texas Workforce Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, DFW businesses and other organizations to offer registered apprenticeship programs,” said Mark Hays, DCCCD vice chancellor for workforce and economic development. “These programs help current and future employees earn better wages while their employers’ businesses grow and contribute to economic development in our region. That’s a win-win for all of us.”

The Dallas County Manufacturers Association and DCCCD have started to build a series of registered apprenticeships in areas that include computer numerical control (or CNC) operations, industrial maintenance, welding and machine operations.

The programs are designed to meet the needs of Garland manufacturers, including General Dynamics, Epiroc, Nutribiotech, Kraft Heinz, Karlee, Plastipak, Mapei, Hatco, GSC and Arrow Fabricated Tubing. These are “learn and earn” models in which employees are paid while they learn, and they are able to practice their skills immediately on the job.

John Kuznar, field representative for the US. Department of Labor, presented the official apprenticeship certificate for the program to DCMA. Employers who participate in the program were recognized; the event was held at the Garland Chamber of Commerce.

“With more than 300 manufacturing companies and tens of thousands of employees, this sector is the largest part of our economy in Garland,” said Paul Mayer, president of the Garland Chamber of Commerce.

Mayer added, “Currently, more than 600 new employees are needed at two DCMA member companies alone. Without the partnership with Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, DCCCD, the Department of Labor and the Garland Independent School District, creating a skilled employee pipeline would be an impossible task. Going forward, automation will demand both a higher level of expertise and increased wages.”

In a separate program at KLLM Driving Academy in Lancaster, the ACE Logistics Consortium apprenticeship project involving KLLM, FFE and DCCCD was officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as well. This apprenticeship program for professional truck drivers provides employment and training for 300 or more drivers, according to KLLM and FFE.

The one-year, “learn and earn” model will move successful apprentices from an entry-level wage of less than $15 an hour to a full market wage of $21.23 an hour. Content includes permit preparation, safety, defensive driving, accident prevention, visual scanning, trip planning and logging, plus backing skills, double-clutch shifting, night driving, cargo loading and unloading, and city driving.

“KLLM/FFE currently needs about 100 drivers in North Texas, and we expect that number to increase upward to approximately 400 to 600 drivers,” said Mark Rhea with KKLM. “Our target recruiting will focus on entry-level drivers who want to break into this high-demand career which is experiencing a national driver shortage.”

Rhea added, “We plan to approach this (effort) by continuing to offer company-sponsored scholarships, followed by paid internships, to new driver candidates and also to returning drivers who need refresher courses and training.”

For more information about these apprenticeship programs through DCCCD, contact Cynthia Brink at 214-860-5806 or; or Anita Bedford at 214-860-5766 or

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