The Southwest Missouri Regional Fire Academy hosted apprentices for a workshop in January 2023. The Fire Academy trains Springfield firefighters, and also firefighters from several different fire protection districts in the metro area. (Photo provided by the Springfield Department of Workforce Development)

The City of Springfield Department of Workforce Development was one of just 30 organizations that qualified for the Apprenticeship Building American training program. 

The $3 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Labor will assist up to 1,275 apprentices over the next three years in Greene County and nine surrounding counties.

Based on data provided by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, Missouri currently ranks third in the nation for completed apprenticeships and fourth in the nation for new apprenticeship opportunities. These numbers are current as of January 2023.

Katherine Trombetta, communications coordinator for the Springfield Department of Workforce Development, spent several months helping get everything in place before the grant started. 

“Typically with a federal grant, they allow you a six or nine months window to get everything in place before you start the grant,” Trombetta said. “We’ve spent the last several months getting everything in place internally as far as getting staff hired and getting procedures and policies in place.”

Residents in Barry, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster counties are eligible for enrollment. Examples of registered apprenticeships now available include health care, public safety, education, manufacturing, renewable energy, information technology, construction, transportation/distribution and logistics.

These apprenticeships combine classroom learning with hands-on practical experience. Wages are also provided during the apprenticeship, as well as a nationally recognized credential from the Department of Labor. 

“That is the beauty of a registered apprenticeship is once you are accepted into the apprenticeship, you are paid,” Trombetta said. “And it depends on what career field you are going into so wages will vary — not only by career fields, but by employers.”

Ericka Schmeeckle, the City’s Interim Director of Workforce Development, knows this is a win-win for everyone involved. 

“Whether you are new to the workforce or wanting to start a new career after being in the workforce for a while, we have numerous opportunities for all individuals no matter your background,” Schmeeckle said. 

The City of Springfield and the Department of Workforce Development are actively seeking companies and organizations in the fields of health care, public safety, education, and manufacturing, for example, to help create registered apprenticeships. 

“We would certainly be excited to talk to them about that. If a company is doing a paid internship program or any formal on the job training program, those can easily be converted into a registered apprenticeship,” Trombetta said. “Our staff can help that company in getting it officially listed as a registered apprenticeship with the Department of Labor.”

If a company or organization wants to start a registered apprenticeship at their place of employment, Trombetta recommends reaching out to Haley Jones-Sides at If you are an individual wanting to be an apprentice, you can visit, where someone at the Department of Workforce Development will follow up with you. 

For additional information, Katherine Trombetta can be reached at 417-880-6306 or

Dylan Durrington

Dylan Durrington

Dylan True Durrington is a general assignment intern at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He’s currently a senior at Missouri State University studying Journalism and Mass Media. Durrington is interested in voice over, music, computers and broadcasting. More by Dylan Durrington