MISSOURI —There are numerous businesses looking to fill more positions, and the shortage of workers, in some fields, predates the pandemic.

But a program in Missouri is changing that. In fact, it’s ahead of schedule.

Rick Nixon has been in the auto repair industry since he was a teenager and thinks it’s a great idea to get people in that age group interested in that occupation. This is why his business participates in an apprenticeship program with Franklin Tech.

“I think there’s a huge shortage, and any kind of apprentice program or training program that would grasp young kids, get them excited about it, get them some training should be beneficial,” said Rick Nixon, Owner, Nixon’s Garage.

Brandon Rumsey is one of two Franklin Tech students going through an apprenticeship program at Nixon’s and would encourage other high school students or adults to earn while they learn.

“I think it would be perfect for them if they’re actually trying to find a career path or trying to get maybe good money in the future,” said Rumsey.

A program aimed at getting young people into some of those fields is actually ahead of schedule. It’s called Apprenticeships Missouri, and it’s surpassed its 2019 goal of serving 20,000 new registered apprentices by 2025.

Franklin Tech started an apprenticeship program that same year with just a handful of students.

Dr. Elsie Morris, Franklin Tech Special Services Coordinator says the number of students, as well as employers involved in the program, continues to grow.

“Currently we have 11 students who are actively participating in an apprenticeship, we have three on an extended apprenticeship, those are our seniors from last year, who will be finishing up by the fall of this year, so once they complete their training, they will receive a journeyman certification from the Department of Labor,” said Dr. Morris.

Some apprentice programs require as little as one year to complete. The program is open to students from six area high schools, as well as home-schooled students and adults.

If you’d like more information on the program, click here.