#NAW2020: Building Skills, Expanding Opportunity
There’s a good reason that more workers and employers are choosing apprenticeship. In the past year alone, job creators started about 3,000 new apprenticeship programs, and more than 200,000 people became apprentices. And since the beginning of the Trump Administration in 2017, more than 850,000 apprentices have been hired.
Why? Because apprenticeship gives workers the skills they need to succeed in growing industries while earning the wages they need to build financial security, not to mention a portable, industry-recognized credential. And apprenticeship lets employers develop a reliable talent pipeline of employees who perform high-quality work. From the building trades to 5G/telecommunications, from cybersecurity to healthcare, more than 633,000 apprentices are currently training for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Employers love apprenticeships because 94% of apprentices continue employment after completing an apprenticeship. Career seekers love apprenticeship because in addition to developing a lifelong set of skills and an industry-recognized credential upon completion, they earn on average $70,000 per year.
This Nov. 8-14, the U.S. Department of Labor joined partners across the country in celebrating the sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week. Despite many events moving from in-person to virtual this year, business, labor, education, policymakers and other apprenticeship leaders hosted more than 830 events and issued a record 170 proclamations demonstrating their commitment to apprenticeship.
Some highlights include:
U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia spoke at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education virtual conference hosted by the Aspen Institute, Florida International University, and the U.S. Department of Commerce on the importance of expanding apprenticeship and other work-based learning models in cybersecurity and other high-tech fields. Secretary Scalia also spoke at the U.S. Department of Education’s “Rethink Work-Based Learning” event, discussing the importance of work-based learning — which includes apprenticeship — in preparing workers for high-skill careers.
The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau hosted a webinar with grantees from the Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program, who shared their tips on how to recruit and retain more women in apprenticeship programs that lead to sustainable careers.
We were excited to hear about a virtual fireside chat hosted by ApprenticeshipPHL in Philadelphia on the youth apprenticeship model and their regional apprenticeship ecosystem. School, business and government partners discussed the new medical assistant youth apprenticeship — that helps students launch their career while still in high school — and the lessons learned along the way.
In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson kicked off the week with a National Apprenticeship Week state designation. He ushered in a weeklong series of events through Apprenticeship Missouri that hosted speakers like U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Paul Champion, the president and CEO of TranZed and a former apprentice himself who advised attendees to “build local expertise and local champions who can lead the change.”
And Apprenti, an IT apprenticeship intermediary based out of Seattle, hosted a virtual national graduation for over 230 of their apprentices who completed programs in 2020, featuring Massachusetts Secretary of Labor Rosalin Acosta. During National Apprenticeship Week, Apprenti announced new partnerships to expand their tech apprenticeship programs to two new states, Delaware and Wisconsin.
It was great to hear from everyone who participated! Thank you to all of our partners who helped get the word out about the value of apprenticeship in preparing Americans for good jobs.
Visit Apprenticeship.gov to learn how to start an apprenticeship program, find apprenticeship opportunities, explore resources for educators and more.
John Pallasch is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.