Apprenticeship Spotlight: Precision Propeller taps veterans to help strengthen its business

Veterans Brandon McCullough and Jeremy Coak, at Precision Propellor Services, work together by giving a propellor the proper parts to make it safe for flight. Veterans Brandon McCullough and Jeremy Coak work together at Precision Propeller Services to make sure a propeller has the parts it needs for a safe flight.

Hiring in industries that don’t require a college degree can be challenging. Certain industries need highly trained individuals to meet job requirements. Registered Apprenticeship programs help meet that need by providing on-the-job training to create a qualified professional.

For Ted Chester, owner of Precision Propeller Services in Boise, the Idaho Registered Apprenticeship program gave his company the talent with the skills they need to learn how to craft various propellers. Chester has been using the program for three to four years to grow his business.

“I was really impressed. The Idaho Department of Labor apprenticeship team walked me through all the steps for creating a Registered Apprenticeship,” Chester said. “It was a good experience.”

Chester has hired refugees through Idaho’s Registered Apprenticeship program. Once he discovered veterans can benefit as well, he added them to his team.

“A veteran is someone who cares about perfectionism. Someone who really cares about another human’s life who they’ve never even met,” Chester said.

Brandon McCullough and Jeremy Coak – two veterans who work for Precision Propeller – came with valuable skills in tow. McCullough served in the U.S. Air Force working on ejection seats and Coak served by working on propellers in the U.S. Navy.McCullough levels out the propellor part he is working on in the shop.McCullough levels out the propeller part he is working on in the shop.

“I was in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic,” McCullough said. “I knew I was going to do something I enjoy. My skills transferred over into this job, and honestly, I like being a mechanic.”

The other veteran, Coak, can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“I like doing this kind of work on the civilian side,” Coak said. “Going through the apprenticeship program and getting a certificate is great. It’ll help get your foot into the door.”

Chester said training workers or learning how to assemble a propeller correctly is expensive, especially since there are no propeller construction schools. Funds from the Idaho Registered Apprenticeship helped offset some training costs.

At Precision Propeller, workers who complete the program in two years after 4,000 hours in training become certified propeller repairman through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Gaining a certificate in this industry is valuable for veterans. The GI Bill® is offered to people who served in the military and can help offset training costs, allowing veterans to pursue a post-military service occupation in an industry of their choice. The funds can be used towards obtaining approved college degrees, going to trade schools, and participating in vocational school programs, on-the-job training and apprenticeships.

Coak and McCullough are strong advocates for veterans using the GI Bill and their benefits for Idaho’s Registered Apprenticeship program.

“A Registered Apprenticeship – will allow you to expand your skill set,” said McCullough. “It will get you into jobs you never thought you’d enjoy. It’s invaluable for veterans transferring back to civilian life.”

The GI Bill comes with benefits including on-the-job training or apprenticeship creation. It helps fund and create opportunities for veterans who wish to go into law enforcement, fire, energy, plumbing, mechanics, truck driving and more.

To be considered eligible for the GI Bill, one must be honorably discharged, placed on a retirement list or discharged due to an injury or hardship, but ultimately, these factors don’t guarantee eligibility.

The Idaho Department of Labor works with employers, other state agencies and businesses to create Registered Apprenticeships. For people who serve in the military, that means collaborating with the Idaho Division of Veterans Services who signs off on certifying a registered veteran apprenticeship program.

Chester said he recommends other businesses consider working with the Idaho Department of Labor and create Registered Apprenticeships to fill much-needed jobs in the workforce.

“Don’t try to do it on your own,” Chester said. “The Idaho Department of Labor and the Apprenticeship Idaho team have everything you need, including instructions for how to set up the program. They will really help you.”

A Registered Apprenticeship is on-the-job paid training program where participants earn a recognized certificate or credential. Veterans around the state are welcome to find a Registered Apprenticeship nearby in a field of their interest.

Learn more about Idaho apprenticeship programs and opportunities visit

For more information on GI Bill eligibility visit: GI Bill And Other Education Benefit Eligibility | Veterans Affairs (


GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Additional information on education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

The Idaho Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program is 100% funded by the U.S. Department of Labor as part of Employment and Training Administration grants totaling $5,581,491.

Lindsay Trombly, public information specialist

Idaho Department of Labor