Over the past year, Blenko Glass has been working with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship and the West Virginia Department of Economic Development to build and implement the first registered Glass Worker Apprenticeship in West Virginia.

The Glass Worker Apprenticeship consists of a blend of on-the-job training by Blenko Glass’ master craftsmen, as well as additional, classroom instruction from a veteran glass artist and instructor who has been an artist-in-residence and instructor at the Corning Museum of Glass. The instructor has also worked around the world with numerous master glassmakers.

"The apprentice program at Blenko is critical to our mission of preserving West Virginia's glassmaking history,” said Dave Wertz, Site Operations Director at Blenko Glass. “Without a constant stream of well trained apprentice glassworkers we are at risk of simply being snuffed out of the trade entirely.”
This new registered apprenticeship is being announced during the 8th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) that takes place Nov. 14-18, 2022. NAW is being held this year in honor of the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act.

NAW is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders host nearly 1,000 events showcasing the value of Registered Apprenticeship for re-building our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities.

The learn-and-earn model Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers develop their future workforce, and individuals obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction and a nationally-recognized portable certificate for that occupation. Currently, there are 600,000 active apprentices in the United States. Thriving tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Intuit and IBM all have robust apprenticeship programs giving an increasing number of people a career pathway.

In West Virginia, which ranks 5th in the nation for apprenticeships per capita, there are now more than 5,000 active apprentices. While many WV apprentices are in skilled trades, there are also many apprenticeships in emerging sectors from IT and aerospace to brewing, healthcare, and meat cutting. West Virginia was the second state to implement a teachers apprenticeship called Grow Your Own, a trend now developing around the country to address teacher shortages.

For media inquiries, Contact Allyssa Covert at ACovert@Blenko.com or call 304-743-9081 or contact Dave Lavender at David.L.Lavender@wv.gov or call 304-932-2045