Rutherford County, TN—The Rutherford County Property Assessor’s Office recently received approval for an official U.S. Department of Labor-certified Registered Apprentice Program (RAP).
Apprentice programs are nothing new; however, Rutherford County’s appraisal apprenticeship program is the first of its kind to receive approval from the Department of Labor.
“Working in the fastest growing County in Tennessee has caused great administrative challenges,” said Assessor of Property Rob Mitchell. “We had to do some creative thinking to find candidates in whom we would be confident to do the job. Out of that need, this apprenticeship program was born.”
Mitchell says that by using the structured approach provided by the Department of Labor, the department might attract candidates that never previously considered a career in the property assessment profession.
“The structure is a progressive two-year program whereby as skills are obtained, they are verified and validated,” said Mitchell. “We are able to start candidates at entry-level pay rates, as required by law, and move them up as certain performance skills and benchmarks are achieved.”
The course material, developed by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and the State of Tennessee, will be used in the training and all post-certified apprentices will be encouraged to obtain higher professional designations through the IAAO and Tennessee certification and professional designation programs.
“Another interesting factor of this program,” explains Mitchell, “is that it creates an opportunity for our jurisdiction to apply for grants to help pay for program operation and implementation, including some salaries of apprentices and staff mentors.”
Grant funds that Mitchell says can be used to offset increasing administrative costs.
Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron commented on the program, “The Rutherford County Property Assessor’s Office is one of the most progressive departments of its kind in the state. Mr. Mitchell and his team are consistently looking for ways to improve and enhance programs offered locally, but also within the profession.”
Though Rutherford County has led the charge with the RAP, the program is structured so that other jurisdictions may also participate, and it can even be adopted in other states. “We went through the intense scrutiny and additional effort to help our fellow assessors who may be struggling to find qualified applicants to work in their offices. We are happy to share the processes we went through, as well as our bumps in the road.”
For more information on the program or Rutherford County’s Property Assessor’s Office, visit https://repatn.com.