In late 2021, Tim Cook with the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium to learn more about Registered Apprenticeship. He began working with Apprenticeship Specialist Jennifer Coughlin. Since Jennifer was new in the apprenticeship role, she reached out to Northwest Michigan Works!’s Regional Director of Apprenticeship Services, Evelyn Szpliet for guidance. Evelyn’s expertise with Registered Apprenticeships for Police Officers helped Jennifer get the process moving forward. Kathleen Fox, Director of Workforce Development & Apprenticeships with Kirtland Community College, joined on as the education provider, making sure the Related Technical Instruction (education) was set up through the Police Academy at Kirtland Community College.
In June 2022, we received official word that the USDOL Registered Apprenticeship for Police Officer was approved by the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. Shortly after this approval, Cheboygan’s first Apprentice, David Duczkowski, was enrolled into the program. David attended Police Academy in the fall of 2022, graduating in December. He was enrolled with the Going Pro Apprenticeship 20-04 Grant, which helped the Sheriff’s Office with some of the reimbursement costs for the Police Academy.
David’s Competency-based Apprenticeship is nearing completion already. “I have learned a lot during and after the police academy,” he states. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend Academy and become a Sheriff's Deputy.”
Since then, two more Police Officer Apprentices have been enrolled into their Registered Apprenticeship program. Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office was able to use the Going Pro Apprenticeship Grant for these Apprentices as well.
In early 2023, the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Office initiated the process to add another USDOL Registered Apprenticeship occupation: Correction Officer. With Jennifer’s expertise and the guidance of Apprenticeship Specialist Tina Holden of Northwest Michigan Works!, their Correction Officer Registered Apprenticeship was approved in April 2023, with Northwest Michigan Works! listed as the USDOL apprenticeship intermediary and sponsor. Shortly after this approval, five Correction Officer Apprentices were enrolled, with two apprentices heading to Corrections Academy at Alpena Community College right after. All five Apprentices were enrolled in the Going Pro Apprenticeship Grant to be able to help the Sheriff’s office with some of the cost for their on-the-job learning and education.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts and partnership with Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium and Northwest Michigan Works!, the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department was able to launch two new USDOL Registered Apprenticeship programs, Police Officer and Correction Officer (a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program in Northern Michigan).
Appreciative of the assistance he received, Cheboygan County Sheriff Tim Cook states, “Having the additional resources and guidance, such as Michigan Works!, assists profoundly in resource allocation to provide the means, not only in the hiring process but through the apprenticeship, which allows our employees to gain the skills needed to reach their potential to provide a service in the field of law enforcement and corrections. These individuals will be our future leaders.”