The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8, to celebrate and promote the value of apprenticeship in creating career opportunities for hundreds of thousands of American workers each year and building a highly-skilled workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Over the past five years, stakeholders have hosted more than 4,000 events with more than 416,000 attendees in all 50 states. This year, NAW might look a little different — with more virtual events — but the message is the same: Apprenticeship benefits both career seekers and employers.
For workers reluctant to take on student loans, apprenticeship provides an immediate paycheck while serving as the pathway to new skills and a new career. The average starting wage is $70,000 for apprenticeship graduates—higher than for new college graduates. For employers who may struggle to find workers with the right skills, apprenticeship programs allow them to cultivate a more diverse workforce to compete and grow.
Growing and expanding apprenticeship is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Labor. Since 2017, the Department has awarded $858 million in grants and contracts to grow apprenticeships in industries such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, healthcare and more. Additionally, the first Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program launched this fall, representing an opportunity to expand apprenticeship in more new and growing sectors. Our efforts to expand opportunity for American workers through apprenticeship have succeeded – with more than 852,000 new apprentices hired across the country since the start of 2017.
What are you doing to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2020? Use the hashtag #NAW2020 to help us spread the word about NAW and the value of apprenticeships. You can also visit Apprenticeship.gov/NAW to register your event and find other resources to make it a success.
John Pallasch is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.