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Can Virginia help the United States Compete in Apprenticeship?

Can Virginia help the United States Compete in Apprenticeship?

Registered apprenticeship has always been the “go-to” training option for jobs within the trades industries. But why it is that other industry sectors haven’t adopted that training model?

Maybe the countless success stories just haven’t been communicated well. Or perhaps, other industries think that the apprenticeship model is only conducive for jobs such as electricians and heating and air mechanics. However, we’re finally at a point where other industries are being forced to look into new professional development options.

In most cases, once a company starts searching for new strategies, they ultimately end up back at the apprenticeship model that’s been helping trades companies for years. This is great timing, because the United States Department of Labor recently awarded $175 million in funding for new apprenticeship programs. And the Commonwealth of Virginia has been awarded $6.9 million of that total.

In Central Virginia, the Community College Workforce Alliance is taking the lead to create new apprenticeships with help from Southside Virginia Community Collegeand Danville Community College. In the Greater Richmond region, the focus is advanced manufacturing and information technology. These two industries seem to be the best fit for new apprenticeship projects for many reasons. They both require highly-skilled workers, and they both are having difficulty finding these workers on the open market.

In order to support these recruitment efforts, CCWA will help partner companies within these industries fund training opportunities for new apprenticeship programs in order to create a profitable and sustainable workforce – much like the trade industry alliances have operated for years.

Smith, Wes 005030067Apprenticeship is a global workforce effort. For instance, Germany has nearly 14 times the apprentices compared to the United States. Hopefully, within the next five to 10 years, we’ll be able to compete with other countries for qualified workers and create a successful model that can transcend into every industry sector. And hopefully, Virginia will lead the way.

Read more about Governor McAuliffe’s efforts to advance apprenticeships in Virginia.

Authored by: Wes Smith, Client Solutions Manager – Manufacturing

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