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IOWA NEWS

Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation, Awareness Week underway in Iowa

Nov 15, 2017

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and state leaders encourage Iowans to explore registered apprenticeship opportunities during Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week, which continues through Friday.

Reynolds signed a proclamation on Nov. 2 to recognize the purpose and value of registered apprenticeship training and to pursue its further expansion. As of Nov. 2, Iowa has 846 active registered apprenticeship programs and 8,720 registered apprentices. In just the past month, Iowa has registered 17 new programs and 141 registered apprentices have completed their programs.

“Iowa is fortunate to have one of the leading registered apprenticeship programs in the country,” Reynolds said. “This strong foundation will serve us well as we work to grow more registered apprenticeship opportunities in Iowa which will help our state be future ready now.”

The Future Ready Iowa Alliance recently made five recommendations to help Iowa reach the Future Ready Iowa goal to have 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. Registered apprenticeship growth aligns directly with the third recommendation: to expand high-quality work-based learning experiences in high-demand careers to all students, but particularly those who are underserved.

Gregg said registered apprenticeship growth is critical for Iowa to be future ready for the skills employers are demanding.

“The skills gap in Iowa is real, and expanding Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for all Iowans will help employers train skilled workers,” Gregg said. “With the retirement of baby boomers in the next 10 years, it is critical we replace our highly skilled and experienced workers. Adding new registered apprenticeship programs and expanding current registered apprenticeship programs will help us close the skills gap.”

Iowa Workforce Development is partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship and Iowa Economic Development Authority to grow registered apprenticeship programs in Iowa. The work is being supported by a $1.8 million grant that was received in October 2016.

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said an area of focus of the grant is growing registered apprenticeship opportunities in sectors outside the trades.

“Iowa has demonstrated strong support of the registered apprenticeship model in the trades such as construction, plumbing, carpentry, heating and cooling, and electricians,” Townsend said. “We are meeting with employers throughout the state in other industries to introduce them to the registered apprenticeship model including emerging industries such as health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing. With more than 1,000 registered apprenticeship occupations or careers, most businesses can offer a registered apprenticeship career path.”

Iowa’s grant is also focused on encouraging women, minorities, youth, veterans and people with disabilities to explore registered apprenticeship careers in both the emerging industries and in the trades.

Greer Sisson, state director for the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship, indicated a registered apprenticeship is a winning solution for both employers and job seekers.

“Registered apprenticeship is an employer-driven model, combining on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction and allows the registered apprentice to earn a paycheck from day one,” Sisson said. “This program has the ability to attract a new and more diverse talent pool, close the gap in workers’ skills and awards an industry credential issued by the Department of Labor upon completion of the program.”

Through the Iowa Apprenticeship Act (15B), $3 million is made available annually for non-competitive training grants for Iowa registered apprenticeship programs. Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said 70 percent of the state’s registered apprenticeship programs either receive or are represented by an entity that receives 15B funding.

“In Fiscal Year 17, grants were awarded to recipients that represented 502 registered apprenticeship programs in the state, representing 5,464 Iowa registered apprentices, a 35 percent increase over the number of registered apprentices by awardees in Fiscal Year 16,” Durham said. “Pairing on-the-job-training with classroom training is a win/win for employers and employees. Individuals can upgrade their skills while earning a wage and providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.”

As part of Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week, IowaWORKS Centers throughout the state have collaborated with community colleges, companies and other organizations to help coordinate events across Iowa.

In Mt. Pleasant, a Re-Entry Employment & Resource Fair is planned from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility. According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, 95 percent of people incarcerated today will be released. The Iowa Department of Corrections has 21 department of labor-approved registered apprenticeship programs. In collaboration with the Department of Corrections and IowaWORKS, this is an opportunity for employers to meet and interview highly motivated, prepared and preregistered job seekers who are working to return to their community after incarceration.

For information, contact Jeremy Howk at Jeremy.howk@iowa.gov or at 319-385-9511 Ext. 2517.

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