With the high demand for craft skill workers, Greater Michigan Construction Academy began its apprenticeship training program in 1983. Called the Merit Shop Training Program, the classes utilized the Wheels of Learning curriculum developed by ABC National. The first classes offered were electrical and pipefitter. Three years later, in 1986, the programs’ first graduating class was awarded certifications. At that time 300 students were enrolled and seven trades were offered!
Through the accomplishments of the programs, the chapter received national recognition for its efforts in education in 1986. James Hovey, Hovey Electric, and Don Yeager, Coleman Electric, accepted the “Award of Excellence In Education” at the national convention in Anaheim, California. The chapter’s training program has continued to excel year after year, and received a second “Award of Excellence In Education” in 1992.
In 1992, with the classroom training in place, GMCA became certified with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship and Training, to develop the chapter’s BAT Apprenticeship program. This program meets all federal and state requirements for formal apprenticeship training with classroom instruction.
In 1995, ABC combined the Wheels of Learning apprenticeship program with the training programs of other associations and employers throughout the industry to create what would become the best standardized and portable training process in the country. This would create the best-trained workforce and give both employers and employees the national registration program necessary for today’s competitive and ever moving workforce. These “partnerships” created the NCCER, in Gainesville, Florida. In 1997, the chapter became an Accredited Training Program through the NCCER.
To this day, ABC and NCCER work closely to be the world’s leader in apprenticeship and craft training in the merit shop construction industry. In developing and revising the apprentice program the “Wheels of Learning” has now become known as the “NNCER Curricula.”