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10/12/2018 8:40:00 AM
Local apprenticeships take the bite out of higher education in Bloomington
Chloe Holden, right, and her three-month-old shepard mix puppy, go through the commands they need to peform for dog trainer Chaz Wiseman at Petco in Bloomington, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Staff photo by Chris Howell
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Chloe Holden, right, and her three-month-old shepard mix puppy, go through the commands they need to peform for dog trainer Chaz Wiseman at Petco in Bloomington, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Staff photo by Chris Howell

Kurt Christian, Herald-Times

From dogs to elevators, finding on-the-job training just got easier.

The federal Department of Labor launched Apprenticeship.gov a little over a month ago to provide a no-cost tool for employers to promote apprenticeships in their industries. Job seekers who are considering higher education outside of academia can search for opportunities by job title, zip code or city.

A search of Bloomington’s open positions pulls up career trajectories for carpenters, diesel technicians, certified nursing assistants, painters, truck drivers and more. In the age of mounting student loan debt, two local apprentices took very different paths to get the certification and training they needed at no personal cost.

Chaz Wiseman worked the floor at Petco for about a year and a half before he decided to become an apprentice through Petco’s Positive Dog Training Program. He’d worked three jobs for 75 hours a week after life got in the way of his computer graphic design and radiology studies, so when he saw the joy dog trainers got out of helping a dog progress, he decided to pursue skilled trade work.

“This molds you into the person you want to become,” Wiseman said. “And it’s meeting what I need in life. I’m living more comfortably because of this job.”

Wiseman went through Petco’s dog training apprenticeship about six months ago. He said the six-week, 120 hour program required him to travel to a Petco in Kokomo and attend five- to eight-hour classes taught by a mentor. Unlike other certification programs or college educations, Wiseman made it through the program on the company’s dime. Now, Wiseman is doing the teaching. To his class of four-legged students, and perhaps to himself, he’s constantly saying “good job.” He’s gone from having to take the bus to owning two cars, and the pay is enough that he’s looking at buying a house. It’s also a job that’s very rewarding in other ways.

“I’ve definitely helped save some dogs’ lives here, because some owners have said they couldn’t handle it anymore,” Wiseman said.

 

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