Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2016

2 years ago
Chris Ferrari

By Lynda L. Hinkle, Esq., Trades and Union Staff

The second annual National Apprenticeship week took place between November 13-November 19, 2016. Congressman Donald Norcross, along with Sean McGarvey, President of the North America’s Building Trades Union, recently published an editorial touting the benefits of apprenticeship programs in honor of the week. They argued:

“No one doubts or denies that education and training are vitally necessary to prepare the next generation of workers for the challenges ahead. How we position our students for success in the future is critical. Unfortunately, today’s high school seniors feel as if their choices in life are limited – either go to college or not. But the choices are far greater. A senior today can choose among a traditional college education, military service, or a multitude of apprentice programs where they can learn skills that are highly marketable. So when we talk about higher education and college affordability, the discussion must also include options that do not come with mounds of debt, but also require a high level of skill and training.”

Apprenticeships offer high returns to participants as well as the community and workforce, a fact acknowledged in President Obama’s proclamation for National Apprenticeship week when he declared, “More than 90 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their programs, with graduates earning an average starting salary over $60,000. In addition to benefitting employees, apprenticeship programs also help employers by increasing productivity and innovation with a high return on investment.”

President Obama also lauded his administration’s efforts to expand apprenticeship programs:

“Two years ago, I announced a goal to double the number of registered apprenticeships, and with 125,000 more active apprenticeships today than in 2014, we have seen the largest 3-year increase in nearly a decade. We invested unprecedented levels of Federal funding in apprenticeships, including recently awarding more than $50 million in new grants to States through the Apprenticeship USA initiative. This year, we also invested over $20 million to start new apprenticeship programs and help historically underrepresented individuals — including women, minorities, and people with disabilities — access apprenticeship programs. Last year, I signed the first-ever annual Federal funding for apprenticeship programs into law, and I will keep calling on the Congress to continue funding these efforts so that this work is carried forward for years to come.”

Congressman Norcross and Sean McGarvey echo the responsibility of Congress to continue the work of expanding opportunities in labor, citing the work Congressman Norcross has been doing to educate members of Congress:

“As a way to highlight our message, we’ve created the Congressional Bipartisan Building Trades Caucus, which plays a vital role educating members of Congress about the value of the apprenticeship model. In cities, towns and communities across the United States, apprenticeships are shaping minds and changing the lives of our families, friends and neighbors. Through constant training and lifelong learning opportunities, NABTU programs evolve with the changing business landscape, so the workforce can be well-prepared for exciting and challenging new careers, keeping workers current and relevant for professional challenges ahead.”

As the Presidential administration changes, South Jersey labor can continue to count on these initiatives to represent them in Congress and work to expand opportunities for young people seeking alternative means to a viable career other than college.

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