Events planned for Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week
DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend encourage Iowans to explore registered apprenticeship opportunities during Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week, Monday through Nov. 20.
Branstad is set to sign a proclamation Thursday to celebrate Iowa’s growing registered apprenticeship field. Iowa’s registered apprenticeship recognition coincides with the national designation.
“Iowa has developed a robust and sustainable apprenticeship program since the enactment of the Iowa Apprenticeship Act of 2014, and we remain committed to further growth,” said Branstad. “Work based learning, and apprenticeships in particular, have been identified as a key strategy to help us achieve our Future Ready Iowa goal of having 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce have education and training beyond high school by 2025.”
The Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act expanded access to registered apprenticeship training programs in Iowa by tripling the funding, from $1 million to $3 million, for registered apprenticeships and reforming and streamlining the program. In the past year, Iowa has expanded its apprenticeships by 32 percent. Registered apprenticeship opportunities continue to include the traditional trades and are growing to include nontraditional industries such as information technology, business services, finance industries, transportation, advanced manufacturing and healthcare.
Iowa’s efforts to grow its registered apprenticeship program recently received a boost when the United States Department of Labor announced on Oct. 21 that Iowa received a $1.8 million grant to increase access to registered apprenticeships.
Reynolds said apprenticeships are a win-win solution for employers and job seekers. As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Reynolds will tour the Anamosa State Penitentiary apprenticeship programs and address the staff on Nov. 15.
The Iowa Department of Corrections offers apprenticeship programs at its correctional facilities to help offenders build vocational skills that will allow them to become employable upon re-entry.
“Apprenticeships open the doors for rewarding careers where people are learning on the job and earning a paycheck,” Reynolds said. “I’m excited to help further promote apprenticeships in Iowa and to celebrate the successes we’ve experienced. I’m also very proud of the apprenticeship training we’re providing in our correctional facilities. The training received while incarcerated will lead to a productive life after being released from prison.”
Townsend said registered apprenticeships are a key workforce strategy to help meet the skills gap in Iowa.
“Middle-skill jobs are our biggest segment of jobs in Iowa – jobs that require more than a high school degree but less than a bachelor’s degree,” Townsend said. “Fifty-three percent of jobs fall into the middle-skill category but right now, only 34 percent of the workers have the skills. We need to help low-skill workers expand and learn the skills to fill these middle-skills jobs. Apprenticeships are a winning solution for both employers and workers.”
Townsend said Iowa Workforce Development is working to attract more minorities to pursue registered apprenticeship careers, including women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and refugees as well as individuals with disabilities. The newly awarded grant will help Iowa in these efforts.
“I encourage all Iowans who are exploring career options to look at registered apprenticeship opportunities,” Townsend said. “Apprenticeships lead to well-paying careers and provide a path for advancement.”
The United States currently has approximately 375,000 apprentices working with more than 150,000 employers. Last year, President Obama established a goal of doubling the number of apprentices within five years.
Iowa is on target to meet the president’s goal. Currently, more than 8,100 Iowans are working in registered apprenticeship programs statewide. Iowa has added about 100 registered apprenticeship programs each year for the past three fiscal years.
As part of Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week, Iowa Workforce Development has collaborated with community colleges, companies and other organizations to help coordinate and promote registered apprenticeship events across Iowa. In addition, the Iowa Department of Corrections is holding apprenticeship events at six of its correctional facilities. Visit www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/NAW/ for a full list of activities in Iowa during National Apprenticeship Week.
Nearby events include:
• In Ottumwa, “Apprenticeship 101: Introducing Employers to Apprenticeships” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 16 at IowaWORKS on the Indian Hills Community College North Campus.
The event is geared toward educating employers about apprenticeships. Guest speaker is Jim Wightman from the Department of Labor apprenticeship office. There also will be a presentation from a representative from IHCC, which recently became certified as a training provider for HVAC apprenticeships.
Other activities include an employer panel who will share their experiences with apprenticeships. Lunch will be provided.
Sign up by calling Brenda Noe at 641-684-5401 ext. 40016.
• In Burlington, a Celebrating Apprenticeship Week open house is planned from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at IowaWORKS.
The open house is for businesses and customers. Interactive displays highlighting apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand occupations in Southeast Iowa are planned. Local employers with registered apprenticeship opportunities will share information for job seekers, and core partners will provide details about pre-apprenticeship pathways.
Tours of the center and information about services provided also are planned.
To sign up for the open house, contact Carolyn Farley at 319-753-1671 ext. 30352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.