June 13, 2001 11:00 pm

A move is afoot to bring more apprenticeship training programs to our area. A prerequisite is having businesses willing to take part.

Fifteen local businesses were represented at a forum last week designed to stimulate interest in establishing apprenticeship programs. If a few of the businesses decide to pursue the opportunity to train professional tradesmen and women, the businesses, potential apprentices and the community will benefit. The area needs more businesses to take part.

The apprenticeship program is designed to train people for specific trades bakers, electrical, masonry, carpentry, metal framing and drywall, heavy equipment operators, millwrights, plasterers, plumbers, high-tech programmers, roofers. Statewide there are more than 120 occupations that train workers as apprentices. The training combines on-the-job experience with classroom training.

Union County businesses are by and large missing the advantages apprenticeship training programs can provide increased productivity, increased worker safety, reduced turnover, and the ability to land some of the big jobs that occasionally come our way and require proven, trained tradesmen.

Benefits for employees range from paid employment during training and earning community college credit to the satisfaction of perfecting a specific trade.

Four-year college degrees are essential for people who have their sights set on many professions. But some people are more interested and inclined to learn and perfect a specific trade. Apprenticeship programs provide that opportunity.

Launching apprenticeships requires local businesses that are willing to participate. Local businesspeople and contractors who would like to find out more about what the program can do for them can call area apprenticeship coordinator Jennifer Hills at 541-278-5854 or Bob Nelson at the Employment Department, 963-7111. The residual effects will be good for our community.


Today is Flag Day, and at least one

La Grande resident is wondering just how much the Stars and Stripes will be seen around town.

Alice Morehead, who lives at the Grande Ronde Retirement Residence, has been a proponent of flags, freedom and patriotism all her life. She has another important reason to celebrate this week she turns 95 on Friday.

Morehead, active in the Daughters of the American Revolution and other patriotic causes, takes pride in pointing out that the Magna Carta, that great document of liberty, was presented on June 15, 1215, nearly 700 years before she was born.

Lets observe Flag Day and make sure Old Glory is flying high in recognition of Alice Morehead and others like her who regularly remind us of the cherished freedoms we enjoy.