Industry leaders and educators gather for National Apprenticeship Week

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By Erin Eagan

This week we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week — an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the benefits of apprenticeships in preparing skilled workers to meet the growing needs of employers.

Across a variety of industries nationwide, the skills gap has reached unprecedented levels. According to Georgetown University Center on the Education and Workforce, by 2020 the United States will be short 5 million workers with the necessary technical certificates and credentials to succeed in high-growth, high-demand industries.

Aiming to address this skills gap, ApprenticeshipUSA was borne out of President Obama’s call to action in 2014 to double the apprentices in the U.S. within five years. Since that time, the nation has added more than 125,000 new apprenticeships — the largest increase in nearly a decade. Building on that success, President Trump signed an Executive Order in 2017 to expand the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative.

Growing the number of apprenticeships has helped fill the gap, but there is more work to be done to promote apprenticeships and change perceptions. To help in this effort, there are numerous apprenticeship events being held this week throughout Wisconsin. Some of this year’s events include informational sessions, training center tours, career fairs, panel discussions and more. Apprenticeship sponsors around the state will introduce their programs and facilities to a new generation of workers.

Apprenticeships are a powerful talent development tool across a wide variety of careers. Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer more than 40 apprenticeship programs in the industrial, construction and service industries. To learn more about these apprenticeship programs, reach out to one of the apprenticeship contacts in your area.