Every November, The United States Department of Labor celebrates National Apprentice Week (NAW). NAW gives employers a chance to highlight the benefits of their apprentice programs. The week’s events also help to educate the public about the role of apprenticeships in preparing a highly-skilled workforce.

As the November apprenticeship celebrations draw to a close, I wanted to reflect on lessons that I have learned in working with CareerWise and its partner employers over the last couple of months. CareerWise Colorado is building a statewide system of youth apprenticeships that create pathways for students to access high-demand, high-paying careers. Student apprentices work toward high school graduation and earn postsecondary credit, industry credentials or both in their chosen career path.

In working with our partner, CareerWise, we have had the pleasure of interviewing several employees at the organizations that hire apprentices. These employees offered sage advice to youth who are considering or are actively employed in an apprenticeship. Below is a summarization of thoughts they shared with us…

  • You don’t know where you want to go in the end at the start – so, if the company allows it, move throughout various roles/departments (operations, food & beverage, engineering, etc.) to find where your passion is! – Training Specialist at a Hotel Management Company
  • Apprenticeships often lead to fulltime employment; therefore during your time as an apprentice assess how the company treats employees and how teams interact with one another to make sure the culture is a great fit for you. – Logistics Specialist at a Bike Component Manufacturer
  • Use your time as an apprentice to network with other employees at the organization and to learn about their jobs. - Loan Officer at a Community Bank
  • Companies make huge investments in you buy helping you to ‘start from nothing’ and build relevant industry skills – be sure to thank your co-workers for the things they teach you during your apprenticeships. – Paint Technician at Aircraft Maintenance Company
  • There are a lot of things that companies do and use in a workplace environment that you are not going to get trained on at school – consider an apprenticeship in order to get real-life experience that makes you more employable after school. - Quality Assurance Manager at a Home Improvement Digital Marketplace Company

If you have additional thoughts/advice, please share with us (info at couragion.com). And if you (or students in your life) are looking to learn more about apprenticeships, here are some recently published articles to help…

  1. Room To Grow: Identifying New Frontiers For Apprenticeships – Burning Glass Technologies & Harvard Business School
  2. Jobs Now! Learning From The Swiss Apprenticeship Model – Forbes
  3. Apprenticeships, Long Common In Blue-Collar Industries, Are Coming To White-Collar Office Work – The Washington Post
  4. Betsy DeVos: Stop 'Forcing' Four-Year Degrees As Only Pathway To Success – Education Week

Comment