The leader of a company that has dealerships in Colfax, Grinnell, Marshalltown, Knoxville, Oskaloosa, Ankeny, Toledo, and 14 other communities in Iowa is helping Governor Kim Reynolds tout the State’s Apprenticeship Programs. Governor Reynolds has declared this week, November 11th through the 17th, as Apprenticeship Week in Iowa. According to the Governor…there are nearly 750 registered apprenticeship programs in Iowa where more than 76-hundred people are learning new skills that will lead to a full-time job.

The state is spending four MILLION dollars this fiscal year to help businesses, trade unions and schools set up apprenticeship programs. Yesterday the governor visited a John Deere dealership near Nevada which is hosting an apprenticeship program. Eighteen-year-old Kenyon O’Brien is enrolled, taking community college classes and getting hands-on training through the Van Wall dealership in Story City. O’Brien graduated from Gilbert High School and considered getting a four-year degree at Iowa State, but balked at the amount of college debt he’d wind up with for a degree he might not want.

O’Brien will finish his apprenticeship in the spring of 2021. Mike Van Houweling, the C-E-O of Van Wall Equipment, has 150 technicians working at the company’s 21 John Deere dealerships in Iowa.

Van Wall Equipment covers the Northeast Iowa Community College tuition bills for O’Brien and the other apprentices in the program, plus the apprentices get paid.