Hometown Jobs: Lawrence Companies searching for candidates for registered apprenticeship program

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:23 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - WDBJ7 is highlighting programs helping to recruit much needed employees in the trade and service industries.

Lawrence Companies is an employee-owned company, looking for highly motivated people for its apprenticeship program.

“If they come in with a positive will, then we’re able to teach them the skill,” said Morgan Byrd, apprenticeship program manager.

“This was probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Sean Leduke, apprenticeship program participant. Leduke is a diesel mechanic apprentice at Lawrence Companies.

“They put you with a mentor and the mentor is there helping you with how they do it, and then they let you do it by yourself,” said Anthony Garcia, apprenticeship program participant.

“I’m a hands-on learner, so when he’s with me teaching, it helps me learn it a lot better,” said Leduke.

He’s participating in one of five registered apprenticeship programs.

“Students learn a variety of things from diesel mechanics to auto body repair; we have upfit technician and fabrication as well as welding and heavy trailer repair tech. This allows them to come in and get paid for the on-the-job hours and already have that experience instead of paying for college and then still needing on-the-job experience at the end of a college certificate,” said Byrd.

Lawrence Companies is looking for highly motivated people to be in the program, which can hopefully lead them to lifelong careers.

“Mechanics, technicians, all of those are heavily sought after right now. We definitely need mechanics here. We hope that they stay here for the long term, but if not, then we’ve helped create some mechanics and technicians to put into the workforce,” said Byrd.

“We’re always looking to grow. We’re always looking at new opportunities, so we’re taking these individuals that are sixteen to eighteen years old, so who’s to say in ten years from now they’re not one of our leaders,” said Mike Stevens, Chief Operating Officer.

Apprentices in the program are not only paid, but gain employable skills.

“I’ve learned electrical, wiring. I’ve learned hydraulics… they gave me a toolbox with tools, as well, so that was a little jump start I had, so I didn’t have to spend money right off the bat to get tools, which is really nice, and it was nice because you start making money the next week,” said Garcia.