Sneed said the public "is going to pay for the apprenticeship,
whereas the contractors that employ us are paying for this same
apprenticeship right now. If there's no money for us, why is
there money for a new program?
"No one has said our program is outdated or is not a good
program anymore _ they just want to start a new one."
Monteith and Sneed said they also were worried that graduates
of vo-tech apprenticeship programs would flood a supposed job
market that was not really out there.
"My concern is, they're going to put people in these
industries or trades and overtrain, so there are more people than
there are jobs available," Monteith said. "It will dilute the
wage base at the same time they are duplicating training
Sneed said the sheet metal program tried to take as many
apprentices as could be employed each year, "which is 12 to 15
every year. If we take more, we cannot employ these apprentices.
"So if we start a new youth apprenticeship, then will there be
enough employment for them, if they can find someone to hire
them? And they shouldn't have a problem finding someone to hire
them if they (vo-tech) are going to pay the employer."
Sneed went on to explain that his group is concerned that the
money appropriated for youth apprenticeship "will also pay the
employer for hiring the apprentices. I don't feel like that is
right for them, the vo-tech or the new apprenticeship program, to
pay a contractor to hire an apprentice, when our contractors
actually pay to teach apprentices."
State Rep. Jim Maddox, D-Lawton, who co-authored Senate Bill
500, said the legislation was aimed at giving high school
students some direction for the future.
"We had some of these same people approach us at the time the
bill was going through," he said, referring to the
representatives of traditional apprenticeship programs.
"They were alarmed and concerned that it would take away the
existing programs out there, both labor union-oriented and
private oriented," Maddox said. "We assured them that that's not
"We felt like there are a number of students out there in
need, who are not in school, not in a program, who don't have a
goal-oriented lifestyle in front of them. We wanted to try to
reach those students and bring them in under a structured
"A couple of private groups say, `Well, vo-tech is trying to
move in and take over the whole program,' " Maddox said. "Well,
we're not. We're trying to get them (students) into a structured
program where they can see that they can do something."
Youth apprenticeship and the traditional apprenticeship
programs are "quite different," Peters said.
"We've defined youth apprenticeship to mean a program for high
school students that are enrolled in vocational education
courses, and the traditional apprenticeship program typically is
for out-of-school adult clients," he said. …