As of June 15, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America”  [National Skills Coalition], which is an initiative to advance apprenticeships nationwide. The resulting funding opportunities will accelerate the expansion of apprenticeships to new industry sectors, and increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans. According to DOL [DOL] investments will be awarded to projects that are designed for professions that have not used apprenticeships in the past.  Outcomes will include the addition of newly skilled employees to the workforce, increased apprenticeship involvement among new employers, and projects that encourage a sector-based approach.  

Apprenticeship Image
Photo by: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call. Source: Forbes

According to Workforce Development Council (WDC), as of July 11, 2018, “the House of Appropriations Committee Approved, on a vote of 30-22, funding to the apprenticeship opportunities at $160 million” [WDC News]. There is a 15-million-dollar increase, going from FY18 to FY19. Employers willing to participate in apprenticeship programs are asked to sign the pledge “Pledge to America’s Workers.” By signing the pledge the employers will be committing to invest in programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers of all ages [White House]. According to WDC News, several major employers have signed the pledge and committed to offer training(s) and/or education to their current and future employees [WDC News].

An Apprenticeship is a dynamic way to learn technical skills that can enhance long-term career pathways. According to DOL, “people who complete an apprenticeship program can expect to earn an average annual income of approximately $60,000, which is slightly above the 2016 U.S. national median household income” [WDC News] . Apprenticeship also benefits the employer by offering them highly skilled employees, which in return increases their retention rates. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, the country is predicting to face a shortage of five million workers who are equipped with technical skills [American Progress]. The prediction is that this executive order will help improve the number of employees lacking in technical skills. These are exciting times for South Central Pennsylvania Investment Board – we look forward to make an impact in our region with the help of “Expanding Apprenticeships in America”.

 

Written By: Kwisha Patel