The IPLSA Annual Meeting of 2020 was the forum for the roll-out of the Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program. The announcement of the program was the culmination of a two-year effort by the Workforce Development Task Force. The program came about as a response to what Task Force leader Tim Murphy summarized when saying, “Illinois is facing the same challenge as other states; not enough technicians coming into the business.”
The program was established in partnership between IPLSA and the Land Surveying Program at Parkland College. A U.S. Department of Labor recognized apprenticeship, the Surveyor and Mapping Technician Training Program is a two-year undertaking for participants who work as a surveying technician while taking academic courses in surveying. The program commences with a surveying boot camp which serves as a skills lab to introduce basic instrumentation and processes. From there, apprentices begin their studies entailing 144 contact-hours of classes per year. They do this all-the-while being an employee of a sponsoring business.
For participating employers, the program gives them an engaged team member that is actively learning and using the skills needed to be an effective technician. Committed to the apprentice’s development and employment by a binding agreement, employers provide vocational opportunities that supplement the employ’s education. In the meantime, the employer has an intern aboard to help out where needed. Employment is incentivized by way of a $3,000 annual text credit, the Apprenticeship Education Expense Tax Credit Program administered by the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The program began fulfilling its mission in August of 2020 with its first bootcamp. From then, apprentices have gone on to or returned to Illinois surveying businesses where they put their first-learned lesson to work in the “real world.” Here is a look at two firms and their apprentices.