Clark University joined business leaders, educational institutions and other partners to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), held from November 8 through November 14, which recognized the value apprenticeships add to a skilled workforce.
President David Fithian signed a proclamation that “call[s] upon the Information Technology Industry to recognize the value of apprenticeships, and to promote industry awareness and expansion during the sixth anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week.”
Last year Clark University received a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration to provide business technology training nationwide to people struggling with unemployment and underemployment, and to those who seek to master relevant technology skills in an evolving workplace. Through the Tech Quest Apprenticeship, Clark is working with the Public Consulting Group (PCG) and a national consortium of workforce development boards and higher education institutions to provide 4,000 pre-apprenticeships and 1,000 IT and IT-related apprenticeships to unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers through 2023.
“Clark has been working with our partners to match workers with employers and provide them with on-the-job and related instruction, leaving them gainfully employed and enabling them to increase their wages as they improve their skills and move up the career ladder,” says John G. LaBrie, dean of the School of Professional Studies and associate provost for professional education. “Our program seeks to register at least five new technology-focused apprenticeship programs and is expanding IT-related apprenticeships into new areas.”
Apprenticeships offer workers paid, relevant workplace experiences while they acquire the competencies and credentials valued by employers, providing affordable paths to secure, high-paying jobs and careers. Apprenticeship programs also help employers recruit and develop a diverse and highly-skilled workforce to help them grow their business, and improve productivity and profitability. Through apprenticeships, employers increase staff loyalty and worker retention.
“Apprenticeships can be a pathway out of dead-end jobs,” says Jeff Turgeon, the executive director of MassHire Central Region Workforce Board, a Tech Quest partner based in Worcester. “They make a lot of sense in elevating people into a career, not just a job. Earning while you learn is essential for people who are hard-pressed to make ends meet.”
MassHire Central joined with the Advantage Truck Group to administer a free commercial driver’s license training program for the Worcester Job Fund. Most participants secured good positions, some starting at $27 an hour with benefits, Turgeon notes.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to develop partnerships with companies from a variety of industries,” Turgeon adds. “The Worcester area has many employers who need IT workers, including ones in insurance and financial services, and firms with logistics networks.”
Even during a pandemic, apprenticeships still provide opportunities.
“With the transition to greater levels of remote learning due to COVID-19, apprenticeship providers are turning to online platforms. Providers have begun using technology to efficiently and effectively engage both learners and employers remotely,” says Tech Quest program manager Dug Jones. “This should stimulate greater levels of innovation in this sector more quickly than previously anticipated.”
Hundreds of National Apprenticeship Week events and activities were held across the country; several organizations planned events in Central Mass. Learn more about Tech Quest Apprenticeship here; to inquire about Clark University’s program, contact Dug Jones at email@example.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration that brings together business leaders, career seekers, labor, educational institutions, and other critical partners to demonstrate their support for apprenticeship. The celebration highlights the benefits of apprenticeship in preparing a highly skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.