As the Trump Administration pushes the expansion of apprenticeship programs as part of Workforce Development Week, IFA highlights franchise businesses that are helping to close the skills gap and create attractive jobs in the middle class.
By Andrew Parker
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce the expansion of apprenticeship programs in the private sector as part of an effort to bolster job creation in America’s middle class. A hallmark component of his labor policy agenda, Trump will look to American companies to serve as the stalwart examples of business preparation and entrepreneurial training to bring forth the next generation of the domestic workforce.
Filling-in growing labor gaps is a high priority for a president who campaigned on the promises of a strengthened and reinvigorated middle class. To help energize these efforts, the U.S. Department of Labor will highlight the contributions of the franchise business model as a vehicle for economic growth, financial prosperity, and systematic training for employees and budding entrepreneurs.
“The point here is to foster private partnerships between industry and educational institutions so that when students go to a community college or are looking at apprenticeship programs in the building trades or in four-year institutions, when they leave, they have at skills necessary to enter the workforce,” explained Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta during comments in the White House briefing room on Monday. He said that 95 percent of executives reported problems finding qualified workers. The issue is that a mismatch exists between available jobs and prospective employee skills.
“Apprenticeships teach skills needed to bridge this gap,” Acosta continued. He travelled with Ivanka Trump to Wisconsin on Tuesday to highlight various apprenticeship programs before returning to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, where President Trump will meet with CEOs and unveil further details on the apprenticeship initiative. Many franchise businesses have programs in place to help entry level employees assume increased responsibility. IFA’s @OurFranchise highlights some of these companies below.
Rainbow International Restoration
A brand of Waco, Texas-based Dwyer Group, Rainbow International Restoration has a training program for both franchisees and technicians in the field of restoration. Through industry specific training, technicians that work for Rainbow International franchisees can earn certifications that apply throughout the industry. These include water, fire, mold and several other certifications available through IICRC, which issues credentials for the industry.
Kevin McShane has gone from a temp position to production manager in
four years at Rainbow International Restoration of Northeastern Maryland.
Jay Van Deusen, who owns Rainbow International of Northeastern Maryland, is working to advance the career of one of his employees, Kevin McShane, through an apprentice program. “Kevin started as a temp in 2011, and now he is my production manager,” Van Deusen explained. McShane became a full-time employee in 2013, and received his first IICRC certification in June of that year for Water Restoration Technician. In 2014, Van Deusen promoted McShane to lead technician, and in 2015 McShane received his IICRC Applied Structural Drawing designation and Applied Microbial Remediation Technician certification, while receiving another promotion to production manager.
Rainbow International pays employees as they go through training, and Van Deusen estimates the investment totals around $2,500 for each certification, including tuition, travel costs and lost revenue expenses. His personal philosophy is that not everyone is cut out for college, and that investing in people with the right attitude and ambition will help the company grow while giving them a path to success. Employees across the company with “the right stuff” recognize the opportunity for themselves and the company with education possibilities and advancement potential, he explained.
“It’s such a disservice when people say, ‘If you don’t go to college, you’re going to end up being a forklift driver.’ That’s not true. Besides, you can be a forklift driver and still be a good forklift driver, and be well-paid for it, and do well,” he said. “Not everybody’s going to be writing an app, or going to Princeton, or going to community college and sweating through it to get an associate’s degree. People like Kevin can come to us and climb that ladder in four short years — and have a job with a positive upward trend and an future with lots of upside.”
The investment in taking a chance among interested technicians is paying off, both for Van Deusen and the Dwyer Group network. “One of the things that I like about going through the program at The Dwyer Group’s training facilities in Waco — I had to get these same certifications as Kevin before purchasing the franchise — is that they believe in a hands-on approach,” he said. “The owner can’t be someone who’s just writing the checks, you have to be certified and understand what’s going on inside the industry to be successful.”
Read more about franchising opportunities at Rainbow International Restoration.
Rainbow International Restoration franchisee Jay Van Deusen (right)
meets with production manager Kevin McShane.
The UPS Store
The UPS Store’s Marlon Barrera is an example of how an apprentice program can lead to owning a franchise location. Originally from Guatemala, Barrera moved to the United States in 2005 in search of the American Dream. He started out working at a restaurant, putting in 12 hours a day, and then working landscaping projects on Saturdays and Sundays.
In 2012, Barrera saw a “Now Hiring” sign at The UPS Store and filled out an application. A couple days later, he went back and met the store owner, Julie Sterling. Barrera was tired of working long hours at restaurants and wanted to try something different, but he wasn’t entirely confident in his ability to speak English fluently. “She said ‘I completely understand you’ and offered to start for a couple days a week,” Barrera recalled.
“After that, I fell in love with the business to be honest,” he continued. “I quit my other jobs and started to work for her full time.” Over time, Barrera expressed his desire to become a franchise owner, and Sterling explained that it would take time and money. Barrera began to work toward his goal, and after winning airline tickets in a holiday sales competition, asked Sterling to use the flights to attend training courses at The UPS Store’s University in San Diego, Calif. The training covered many topics, including a “print training camp,” how to operate a store, how to manage people, how to promote your business and how to drive customers to your store.
“When I came back, I was working as an assistant manager, but I always had the dream of becoming a store owner. I got the chance to open a new store in Great Falls (Virginia) in January 2016. It’s been great since it happened. Every day I like it more and more.”
Related: Find out more about franchise opportunities at The UPS Store.
ServiceMaster’s Merry Maids
Another example of an apprentice program exists at Merry Maids, a brand of parent company ServiceMaster, which is based in Memphis, Tenn. The program allowed Adrianna Gray to rise through the ranks and become an assistant manager.
Originally from Brazil, Gray came to the U.S. when she was 36 years old with a limited ability to speak English. She began working for Merry Maids in Towson, Md. Four years later, Gray’s husband passed away and she decided to move back to Brazil and raise her two children around family.
After less than a year back in Brazil, Gray reversed course and moved back to the U.S. due to political turmoil in the South American nation. Merry Maids welcomed Gray back and gave her a chance to get involved with its apprenticeship program. Over the next seven years, Gray was promoted to office assistant, then quality assurance leader, before recently becoming assistant manager.
The apprentice program at Merry Maids involves four stages with increasing responsibility: team mate, team captain, trainer/quality assurance team leader and assistant manager. As Gray moved through the program, she received training through Merry Maids University courses for certification in the office assistant, quality assurance and trainer stages. In addition, Merry Maids Towson franchisee Lesley Horman committee time to Gray’s personal growth and set clear guidelines for her career path. Gray shadowed each position and participated in a collaborative training environment, where the apprentice helps solve problems in the field as part of the training.
Because of the help she received through the Merry Maids apprenticeship, Gray has could move into a better school district with the “blue ribbon” distinction and give her children a better opportunity.
Gray’s example is one of many in the franchise community where opportunities to train can lead to a promising career. For new franchisees of Merry Maids, the company offers a two-week onsite training academy as well as six certification programs covering areas such as customer service, sales, leadership and how to clean more effectively to ensure customer satisfaction.
Related: Find out more about franchise opportunities at ServiceMaster brands.
Moran Family of Brands
Midlothian, Ill.-based Moran Family of Brands, which includes Mr. Transmission, Alta Mere, Milex Auto Care Centers and SmartView Window Solutions, is launching its Future Auto Tech internship program this week at more than 120 franchise locations across the United States.
Future Auto Tech will give high school and vocational school students first-hand experience learning the automotive repair business. The program kicks off at a time when less and less students are attending trade schools to prepare for careers as automotive technicians. CEO and Co-Founder Barbara Moran-Goodrich said that the company developed the internship program “to be part of the solution in reducing the skills gap that is occurring in this country… Our internship programs will give them practical experience at our participating franchisee shops and prepare them for successful careers in the field.”
There are two internships available through the program — the Automotive Shop Internship for students who haven’t finished high school or vocational school, and the Technician Internship, a more advanced program for recent graduates. The first program involves around 25 hours per week over a three-month period, and the second covers 30-40 hours per week over six months, with the possibility of being hired for a full-time position.
Read more about franchise opportunities at Moran Family of Brands.
Other franchise businesses with apprenticeship programs in place include:
• AAMCO: Named a 2017 LearningElite award winner by Chief Learning Officer magazine for its workforce development strategies, the Horsham, Pa.-based franchisor offers more than 300 comprehensive training courses through AAMCO University. Employees are not required to have prior automotive experience to get involved with the program, which offers more than 250 hours of training in customer care, quality control, leadership and other related areas to perform the job well.
• ACE Hardware: Recognized by J.D Powers as providing the “Highest Customer Satisfaction” and by SumTotal as an “Innovation Award” winner, ACE Hardware’s ALP is the retail domain of ACE’s learning management system and serves as the “gateway” for 80,000 retail associates to gain access to hundreds of strategic training initiatives.
• BrightStar Care: Various locations in the BrightStar Care network have established career progression programs. For example, the Career Ladder, Caregiver to Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Nursing School Opportunities programs are in place at the company’s location in Madison, Wis. The BrightStar Care in Fort Collins, Colo. offers CNA tuition reimbursement and the CNA Progression program, while the central Denver and Littleton locations provide CNA Runner, which sets out the process for a CNA to transition into an office role. The owner of the BrightStar Care in Roseville, Calif. is planning to hire a full-time training to create training tools for new CNAs.
• Christian Brothers Automotive Technicians: A two-year apprenticeship is central to Christian Brothers' extensive training program. Apprentices pair up with a mentor and learn the business. The brand supports these apprentices during the two-year period, investing in a mutually successful future.
• Jiffy Lube: The American Council on Education and American Society for Training & Development recognized Jiffy Lube for its “Superior Training Program and Dedication to Employee Development.” In addition to other training benefits, Jiffy Lube service center employees receive up to seven hours of college credits for completing various courses, including technical and management training.
• Marco’s Pizza: Apprenticeship and Recruitment programs designed to open doors for top talent and qualified individuals to transition to business ownership is available at Toledo, Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza. The company’s Apprenticeship Program are designed to create paths of opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to get ahead in the franchise space and grow with the brand. A comprehensive 20-month training program includes five hands-on educational phases covering topics such as culture immersion, certified training, local store marketing, managerial certifications, guest management and leadership best practices. Upon successful completion of the program, Richard Scott Quagliata, Vice President of Veterans’ Program and Recruiting, facilitates placement of candidates in the Marco’s system. Quagliata, a military veteran with more than 20 years of experience, also focuses on transitioning veterans into the Marco’s pipeline through the program, which is approved at military bases around the U.S.
• Mr. Appliance: A brand of The Dwyer Group, Mr. Appliance offers a series of programs to train technicians at the franchise level. The Samurai Technical Institute Applicate Repair Training program provides franchisees with cost-effective training for apprentices. The Appliance Video Training program supplies more than 5,000 short online videos about how to diagnose and perform repairs on most major appliance. The SmartData program grants real-time access to system-wide repairs, allowing every technician to quickly and easily access information on how to repair appliances.
• Mr. Rooter Plumbing: The Advanced Customer Engagement (ACE) Service Professional Training program is core to franchisees and technicians at Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Dwyer Group brand. ACE, which involves online courses and classroom training, teaches technicians how to identify existing and potential plumbing issues, analyze the options to fix the problem, and present the potential solutions to the customer. The training doesn’t stop at technical skills, as interpersonal skills are also taught, helping the technician to be a successful residential plumber. Mr. Rooter franchisees are also trained to instruct technicians how to use specialized drain cleaning equipment, underground pipe relining technology and other plumbing tools.
Creating Middle Class Opportunities
The story of franchising is about opportunity, job creation and community support, notes IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE. “Franchise businesses have apprenticeship programs in place working hard to address an emerging shortage of skilled workers and stands ready to work with the President and Congress and create a pathway for Americans to have robust and successful careers,” Cresanti said.
Further evidence of the unique power of the franchise business model can be found in a recent FRANdata study of 1,600 new franchise concepts that started in the last five years. Founders at 25 percent of the concepts identified in the study had previously worked in franchising, either as a franchisee or an employee of a franchisee or franchisor. These people went from working in a franchise system to starting their own franchise brands.
One thing is clear: Franchising stands out as a bastion of entrepreneurship and steady choice for middle-class Americans seeking career control and financial freedom. The Trump Administration recognizes the many contributions of franchising, including those outside of the economic impacts the model provides at local, state, and national levels. Through apprenticeship programs such as those highlighted above, the franchise business model will continue to be an attractive path for employment and career growth opportunities among America’s work-seeking population.
Andrew Parker is Senior Manager of Publishing for the International Franchise Association, and Editor-in-Chief of IFA’s Franchising World magazine.
@OurFranchise tells the inspiring stories of local franchise owners and the positive impact they have on their communities. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur seeking to launch your own franchise business, sign up below to learn more about success in franchising