How one company levels the playing field for new career seekers

(BPT) - Over half of Americans (55%) now in the workforce will be looking for a new position over the next year, according to a survey from For the many Americans seeking new employment, whether recent grads, anyone just out of the military or leaving an unstable or low-paying job - the hardest part can be finding opportunities to learn a new trade without going into debt.

Environmental services company Republic Services is putting students' needs first - reinventing how they address that challenge to grow their talent pipeline. Their industry-first Republic Services Technical Institute in Dallas offers tuition-free education to students who qualify as they complete 12 weeks of training, followed by 21 months of on-the-job training at one of their 180 business units nationwide. Students will receive:

  • Full-time, paid, in-shop training throughout the program
  • Company-provided relocation, housing and travel expenses
  • A toolbox stocked with tools

Students will commit to work for the company for two years after the training and apprenticeship are completed. And the best part? Anyone can apply for the two-year program, without any prior knowledge or experience as a mechanic or technician.

The company partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor and Lincoln Tech to create the cutting-edge curriculum, in a brand-new building with two labs and high-tech classrooms. The Institute goes beyond technical training to educate the whole student, providing life skills education including financial management, emotional intelligence and mental wellness.

'This is an investment in people, further demonstrating our commitment to being the place where the best people come to work,' said Jon Vander Ark, president and CEO of Republic Services. 'We look forward to welcoming new graduates as they contribute to our highly trained workforce, increasing the reliability and consistency of our customer experience.'

Diversity and inclusion

The company is also looking to train and hire a more diverse and inclusive workforce both for their technician and driver positions.

For example, while women currently make up only a small percentage of the waste and recycling workforce, Republic is working to change that through its She Drives initiative, which seeks to broaden the driver candidate pool and increase the number of women hired for driver positions. Just one year into the initiative, the hiring rate of women drivers increased by one-third, placing Republic Services above the national average.

'I'm proud to say that I've been in the vocational educational industry for more than two decades and I've never seen this level of commitment to bringing on new talent by leadership,' said Misty Ross, director of the Republic Services Technical Institute and a U.S. Air Force veteran. 'The financial commitment of $35,000 per student is fully covered by Republic, which will have a lasting impact as we develop the next generation of diesel technicians.'

To learn more and to apply for the program, visit

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