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Pool & Spa Apprenticeship now live

California’s Pool and Spa Apprenticeship program is now fully actualized with a live website inviting employers to become sponsors, and inviting both employees and the general public to apply to become apprentices.

The program is the first of its kind in California, registered with the state’s Department of Industrial Relations, and paves the way for a national program designed to develop a highly-skilled workforce for the pool and hot tub industry.

For employers, the program produces highly trained employees with an average retention rate of 91 percent, according to the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) at the California Department of Industrial Relations. Furthermore, employers can expect an ROI of $1.47 for every $1.00 invested as well as take advantage of potential tax credits, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This is an excellent way to replace a retiring workforce or to simply create an employee pool within your company of loyal, motivated and knowledgeable workers.

For apprentices, the program combines 2000 hours of on-the-job training combined with 144 hours of related instruction provided by experts in the field, to guarantee that graduates become qualified and job-ready employees. The program takes 12 months to complete, after which the California Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training provides the participants that successfully complete the program a journeyman credential.

According to Bryan Duncan, PSATC Education Committee Member, apprentices win big in many ways.

“There are few opportunities where you can be fully employed and drawing a salary while at the same time pursuing coursework and journeyman-guided inthe- field training to improve your job skills, and your employer pays for the cost of that education,” Duncan said.

Employers who are approved to enroll employees in the Pool and Spa Apprenticeship Academy (PSAA) have contractual responsibilities to ensure proper stewardship of the people in the program. Those responsibilities include:

• Training apprentices within the parameters of the program’s approved Standards and employer subscription.

• Providing reasonably continuous employment.

• Verifying apprentice reported on-thejob training hours.

• Providing periodic apprenticeship evaluations.

• Communicating with PSATC on apprenticeship issues and concerns.

Meanwhile, apprentices learn the fundamentals of pool service, including water quality and balance, equipment installation and repair and hydraulics and electricity, all while earning CPO certification.

According to David Hawes, PSATC Chairman, the program has many plans to attract and match prospective employers and apprentices.

“Over the next two months, we are primed to launch our sponsorship outreach, our Pool and SpaApprenticeship Academy (PSAA), and our employer communications tools for enrolling employees. We will also be initiating a multi-phased marketing program that is designed to attract apprentices throughout California,” Hawes said.

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