Printing association PIA MidAmerica to hire at least 10 MCC apprentices

MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty and representatives of PIA MidAmerica take part in a signing ceremony at the MCC-Business & Technology campus. Shonda Atwater, MCC apprenticeship outreach director, is second from left.

The Printing and Imaging Association of MidAmerica, better known as PIA MidAmerica, has committed to hiring at least 10 apprentices through Metropolitan Community College’s new industrial trades apprenticeship program.

The announcement was made at a Dec. 7 event at MCC’s Business & Technology campus, which included a PIA signing ceremony and recognition of the four businesses already in the apprenticeship program.

Members of the association — which includes print, visual communications and marketing firms in four states — will be on campus Dec. 14, noon to 5 p.m., to recruit production technician apprentices. Fifteen companies and about 80  applicants are expected at the job fair.

The one-year apprentice positions include paid on-the-job training and paid MCC coursework. Check out the flyer on Facebook: The positions start in January.

MCC’s apprenticeship program started this semester with eight interns working at four Kansas City area companies. Businesses get highly skilled workers; apprentices (in fields including maintenance mechanic, welding, and tool and die) acquire skills, a paycheck and a college credential such as an MCC associate degree.

In addition to employers, the Dec. 7 program also recognized representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Full Employment Council.

According to government statistics, employers cannot fill an estimated 6 million jobs because they can’t find enough skilled workers. This problem is known as “the skills gap.” Meanwhile, 5 million Americans want full-time work but can only find part-time jobs.

Shonda Atwater, MCC apprenticeship outreach director, calls apprenticeships “the gold standard for workforce training.”

“Engaging our current workforce, and especially the millennial generation, will require an experiential learning process,” she says. “As a region, we must be creative and aggressive if we are to expand economic growth.”

For more information about Metropolitan Community College’s industrial trades apprenticeship program, visit or email

Here are some pictures from the Dec. 14 PIA MidAmerica job fair (with thanks to MCC’s Andrew Shields):