Todd Estes is the new director of Tidewater Community College’s Apprenticeship Institute, effective Nov. 9.

Estes will coordinate all apprenticeship-related instruction at the college, solidify current relationships with industry partners and seek new professional opportunities to prepare the region’s workforce for meaningful employment in high-growth, in-demand areas.

Currently, TCC’s Apprenticeship Institute partners with employers to develop and sustain registered apprenticeship programs, which offer a pathway to both individual career success and regional economic prosperity.

Estes said while the college will remain invested in maritime and manufacturing apprenticeships, TCC will explore opportunities in other high demand fields such as health care, cybersecurity and information technology.

“Those are some of the areas the state has identified,” he said.

By 2022, about 500,000 new jobs will be created in Virginia, and more than 930,000 workers will be needed to replace Virginia’s retiring workforce. These are jobs that require post-secondary education and training, but generally not a four-year degree.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order last month that directs $400,000 to expand apprenticeships for training workers in state government and the private sector. 

“Apprenticeships are a proven tool for connecting people who are seeking work with employers offering good-paying and rewarding positions to individuals with the right skills,” McAuliffe said.

Registered Apprenticeship combines job-related technical instruction with structured on-the-job learning experiences.

Upon completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, participants receive an industry-issued, nationally recognized, portable credential that certifies occupational proficiency.

Many Registered Apprenticeships also incorporate academic credentials awarded by their local college partner including occupationally relevant certificates and degree programs.

Estes is a graduate of the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School, entering as a shipfitter apprentice in 1997 and transferring to a marine designer apprenticeship. After serving in the aircraft carrier new construction design and engineering department at Newport News Shipbuilding, he returned to The Apprentice School as university/college program liaison.

In that role, he worked closely with TCC, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), Thomas Nelson Community College and Old Dominion University in the development and delivery of The Apprentice School’s optional curricula.  

Estes completed his bachelor’s in occupational and technical studies at Old Dominion and his master’s in higher education administration at the College of William & Mary. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration at William & Mary.

“Todd brings a wealth of experience to this position given his educational background and firm understanding of both industry and academic needs,” said Daniel DeMarte, vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer at TCC.

Currently, nearly 1,500 apprentices take part in opportunities through TCC.

Estes said the ultimate goal is to grow apprenticeship in Virginia. “That means interacting with employers and making sure they are aware of all the resources TCC offers.

“I’ll also be working with other external partners, including the state office in the Department of Labor and Industry, to make sure our combined efforts contribute to the successful development of new programs in the region.”

Estes said potential areas of growth include pre-apprenticeship programs that serve as well-defined on-ramps to existing apprenticeships. These programs would target juniors and seniors in high school as they are making crucial post-secondary decisions.

“If we can build that early pipeline for the apprenticeship programs, it becomes a vetting process for employers and it will prepare potential apprentices in common areas of weakness, including English, mathematics and general employability skills” he said.

“We’ll work to establish an early relationship with potential apprentices and possibly, we’ll be able to set up part-time employment or internships depending upon the model we choose.”