TIRAP tower technician apprentices to earn college credits thanks to national partnership with ACE

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

Apprentices participating in WIA’s Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship program (TIRAP) will have a chance to earn college credits, thanks to recommendations by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACE is officially recommending that apprentices completing the Telecommunications Tower Technician (TTT) program earn 14 or more credits at community colleges nationwide. That’s almost a quarter of the way toward an associate degree.

The recommendation follows a rigorous review by ACE and academic subject matter experts that examined the TIRAP program, which includes 160 hours of classroom learning and extensive on-the-job training. WIA was selected to participate in the ACE Apprenticeship Pathways project, a pilot program administered by ACE, funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.

“TIRAP is a great way for workers to turn a job in telecommunications into a career,” said Brent Weil, WIA’s VP of Workforce Development. “Helping them also work toward a college degree will be a huge benefit to workers as they advance in our industry.”

ACE recommendations are used by students to obtain college credit or advanced college placement for formal courses taken outside the traditional classroom. TTT apprentices will also have a digital badge that verifies their accomplishments and credit equivalency. The badges will be issued, verified by and housed at Credly, the leader in issuing and managing digital credentials.

“Registered apprenticeship programs are often considered as an alternate to college education,” said Dr. Rikin Thakker, Chief Technology Officer at WIA. “This recommendation from ACE is providing the much-needed bridge between the apprenticeships and education system. We commend ACE for undertaking this project and we are proud to be partners in it.”

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way to hire those interested in pursuing a new career field where full-time college attendance is not an option for apprentices,” Adria Horn, executive vice president of workforce at Tilson Technology Management, said. “And the ability to learn, earn, and receive college credit for their participation in an apprenticeship program is a valuable recognition of employer-led training programs.”