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Apprenticeship Week Celebrates Addition of New Talent to Workforce

By Annie Miller and Landon Jacquinot  |  November 11, 2022

National Apprenticeship Week begins on Monday to showcase the success of registered apprenticeship programs across the country.

A registered apprenticeship is a work-based learning program that includes a paid-work component as well as an educational or instructional component. Many of these programs provide a pathway for members of underserved communities to enter the workforce, and they can help employers meet racial and gender equity goals. By showcasing the success of these programs with a week of national recognition, the labor sector is acknowledging the critical addition of new talent to the workforce.

As of 2021, there were over 593,000 U.S. apprentices and nearly 27,000 registered apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeship Week, now in its eighth year, includes more than 700 events in 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Among the activities planned are in-person celebrations, webinars, videoconferences and panels.

  • The Oregon Tradeswomen community is hosting an in-person Women in Apprenticeship Social Hour to connect and celebrate female workers.
  • Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the Future of Work are hosting a virtual awards ceremony to honor apprentices, mentors, employers, programs and the partners and champions who unite them.
  • Texas plans several events with businesses, workforce staff and the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals to focus on apprenticeship work.
  • Pennsylvania’s New Century Careers will conduct a series of virtual interviews on the importance of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in the manufacturing industry.

Beyond celebrating annual event, states have demonstrated a commitment to apprentices and apprenticeship programs. As of 2021, there were over 593,000 U.S. apprentices and nearly 27,000 registered apprenticeship programs. Recent legislation has focused on employment training, skills-based learning and post-COVID workforce recovery.

  • Comprehensive apprenticeship legislation enacted in Georgia this session reinforces state efforts to promote and expand registered apprenticeship programs through employer incentives. The bill also will help apprentices and adult learners enter high-demand careers.
  • Bipartisan apprenticeship measures in the recent Colorado session include one outlining spending for apprenticeships and helping those with juvenile arrest records obtain apprenticeships and employment, and another focusing on incentives for experiential and work-based learning. In addition, Gov. Jared Polis issued two executive orders on skills-based hiring and apprenticeships for government jobs.
  • A handful of bills enacted in Washington aim to rebuild apprenticeship networks as the economy rebounds from COVID-19. A comprehensive measure requires the governor to establish a committee to develop apprenticeship programs for jobs in state agencies. It also creates a grant program to mitigate barriers for aspiring apprentices and establishes outcome-oriented standards for apprenticeship programs. Another measure continues the trend by allowing apprentices who receive supplemental education at a community or technical college to have access to the Washington College Grant.

NCSL is also a part of the apprenticeship conversation. A session at the 2022 Legislative Summit covered apprenticeships as a way to address ongoing workforce shortages. Joshua Johnson from Jobs for the Future moderated the session, while the speakers—Wisconsin Sen. Dan Feyen, Noel Ginsburg of CareerWise USA, and Jason Wardrip of the Colorado Building and Construction Trades Council—discussed the specific strategies Colorado and Wisconsin have used to build up their apprenticeship programs.

Annie Miller is a policy analyst and Landon Jacquinot is a policy associate in NCSL’s Employment, Labor and Retirement Program.

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