VILSECK, Germany - The Base Operations Maintenance Division celebrated 20 years of its apprenticeship program during a ceremony at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Oct. 28.

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria invited local representatives from schools, city, county, host nation labor market agency and press to heighten awareness of the program. BASOPS Maintenance, a directorate of the 405th AFSB, certifies and trains youth in a variety of directorate related fields, ranging from electronics repairman to contracting officer representative, supply specialist to administrative assistance.

BASOPS Maintenance started its program in 1998. The garrison followed in 2005. Both apprenticeship programs follow strict host nation Chamber of Commerce learning objective guidelines to ensure a high-quality training program according to Col. Adam J. Boyd, commander USAG Bavaria, during his opening remarks.

Klaus Gredinger, director for the local host nation labor market agency, provided an overview of the local host nation labor market. In his remarks, he emphasized the lack of qualified tradespeople and the importance of apprenticeship programs as provided by the U.S. Army.

"We need to ensure that we continue to prepare a well-trained, experienced, and ready workforce," said Col. Grant L. Morris, commander 405th Army Field Support Brigade. "One of the best ways to do so is through our apprenticeship program. We are looking forward to training motivated, and interested apprentices for our critical professions. The knowledge and skills that we provide make our apprentices desired team members in the US Army workforce and their local communities."

The Base Operations Maintenance Division has recruited 93 apprentices, since the start of the program (do you know when it started?). The majority remained as host nation employees with the U.S. Army.

"It is remarkable that out of the approximately 100 apprentices who graduated the program in the past 20 years, over 75 percent fill a permanent position with the U.S. Army today," Boyd said.

Stephanie Kramer, now the director of the BASOPS Maintenance Division, was the first apprentice and graduate of the BASOPS Maintenance apprenticeship program. .

"I was afforded the opportunity to learn and train in all departments of the division," she said. "This provided me with the understanding of the different processes and mission requirements, and I gained the knowledge and expertise to be successful in my career."

"Stephie is an outstanding model of a gifted employee and exemplary leader," Morris said. "She represents what this apprenticeship program is all about and is proof that local national employees are essential to our continued success."

The ceremony ended with a tour of BASOPS Maintenance and Maintenance Activity Vilseck facilities guided by current and former apprentices.

The BASOPS Maintenance Division coordinates material maintenance support for garrison equipment, like dump and sewage trucks, ice and snow removal equipment, forklifts and fire trucks, in all of Germany. The division is involved in all aspects of maintenance management, parts procurement, establishing and managing contractual support with local vendors.