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More Opportunities for More Americans

A map of the United States is composed of the faces of apprentices at work.
Momentum for apprenticeship is building across the United States.

As National Apprenticeship Week 2017 draws to a close, we’ve seen strong support for apprenticeship’s “earn and learn” model all across America. And the momentum is clearly building, with this year’s celebration bigger than ever! Almost 1,000 events across all 50 states showcased programs, facilities, apprentices, and broad support from labor, companies, trade and industry, and education leaders around the country – about a 30 percent increase from 2016.

Here at the U.S. Department of Labor, Secretary Alexander Acosta kicked off National Apprenticeship Week with the first meeting of the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, along with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump. The Task Force brings together business, education, labor, and public officials to strategize how to expand apprenticeships across all industries.

Following the Task Force meeting, we were proud to take part in a number of events including forums, apprenticeship program launches, and awards ceremonies.

All around the country, signing ceremonies, apprenticeship graduations, appreciation events, employer forums, information sessions, open houses, statewide summits, apprenticeship job fairs, media interviews, and more highlighted the benefits of apprenticeship. For example:

  • Secretary Acosta visited the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union 100’s Apprenticeship Training Center in Maryland, and he headlined the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual conference; 
  • CVS Health, which has had over 4,700 apprentices since 2005, announced its commitment to hiring 5,000 new apprentices by 2022, as well as expanding the number of states in which its apprenticeship program is available;
  • Apprenti, one of the Nation’s first Tech Apprenticeship programs, announced that it will expand nationally into Oregon, Michigan, California and Ohio;
  • The Dow Chemical Company hosted several career fairs, partnering with the local community in Victoria, Texas, to make presentations to the students, counselors, and faculty outlining technical job roles in their apprenticeship program and the competencies required to achieve success;
  • The Charleston, South Carolina, Youth Apprenticeship program has been working with Project Lead the Way and our office to develop the first national pilot for STEM high school apprenticeships, and I’m excited that we were able to launch the first pilot project in engineering apprenticeships on Wednesday with Boeing, Bosch, and Mobile Communications America Inc. This program will offer high school students the opportunity to work as apprentices while taking classes that will give them one year of college credit toward an engineering degree upon completion;
  • The American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation to celebrate Maryland’s newly approved apprenticeship program and announce a $50,000 grant to help Baltimore community-based organizations recruit and train youth to fill the cities local job vacancies;
  • The National Urban League and the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council hosted a College Tech Prep Summit to introduce approximately 250 high school and college students to the fast-paced world of tech.

That’s just a small sample of the exciting events that happened this week. Additionally, there was robust social media engagement related to National Apprenticeship Week, with about 30 million digital impressions from this week alone, providing a resounding drumbeat of support for the power of apprenticeship to provide family sustaining career opportunities.

As this busy week comes to an end, we want to thank everyone across the country who helped raise awareness of how apprenticeship helps job creators grow the skilled workforce they need to compete. The opportunity to “earn and learn” will put more Americans on the path to family sustaining careers.


John Ladd is the Director of the Office of Apprenticeship.


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