Third annual observance spotlights career potential of apprenticeship training
BATON ROUGE – As a proud proponent of workforce development programs and initiatives, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, November 13-19. Led by the U.S. Department of Labor, National Apprenticeship Week highlights the diverse career pathways found through apprenticeship programs and their ability to equip job seekers with the educational tools and hand-on training necessary to secure employment.
There are currently 50 registered apprenticeship programs in Louisiana representing various industries, including plumbing, nursing, carpentry, medical billing & coding, welding, electrical wiring and barbering. The LWC’s Registered Apprenticeship Division has green lighted several new programs in 2017, most recently a certified tankerman apprenticeship based out of Slidell.
Louisiana’s ongoing expansion of apprenticeship mirrors the commitment at the federal level to foster more work-based learning opportunities for American job seekers. Labor statistics show a growing interest in the apprenticeship model, as more than 21,000 registered apprenticeships have been established nationwide. Collectively, these programs provide access to 1,000 career areas and offer average starting wages of $15 per hour. Such incentives have likely contributed to the increasing number of individuals opting to become apprentices, which rose to more than 206,000 during the 2016 fiscal year.
“Apprenticeships are a win-win across the employment spectrum,” says LWC Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “They afford job seekers with a living wage, on-the-job training, and tremendous opportunities for career advancement. Employers also benefit from this model as they are supplied with well-trained individuals who are uniquely qualified to meet their labor needs. It is imperative that our state continues to invest in apprenticeship development to generate not only opportunity, but economic growth.”
In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, the Registered Apprenticeship Division will engage in activities to increase awareness about apprenticeships and to consider potential new academic partnerships.
On November 15, juniors and seniors at Glen Oaks High School in Baton Rouge will participate in an open house to learn about the benefits of apprenticeship training. On November 16, LWC administrators will travel to Shreveport to tour Caddo Career & Technical Center (CCTC) and to meet with representatives from Learn4Life, a national education initiative that has proven to leverage Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding to assist students in finding employment. Through this meeting, the LWC hopes to determine a strategy for integrating CCTC into the apprenticeship framework.
“Apprenticeships offer a common sense solution to addressing labor shortages through the cultivation of highly-skilled workers,” said Joseph Hollins, Director of Apprenticeship for the LWC. These programs are a critical component of our workforce development efforts and we expect to see continued growth in this arena in the future.”