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American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) Mends the Pre-Apprenticeship Skills Gap

Apprenticeships, where workers earn and learn at the same time, are a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs. In fact, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta has stated that apprenticeships “hold great promise in helping American workers acquire the skills they need to get good jobs while ensuring companies can attract the talent required to succeed in this fast-moving global economy.”

Creating a pipeline of skilled workers, apprenticeships help employers prepare for the “grey tsunami,” mend the skills gap and help grow the middle class, while strengthening local businesses and bolstering the economy. Since 2015, The Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties’ (HMO) American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) has been advancing apprenticeships across the Central New York region, helping more than 40 companies train nearly 200 workers.

In the Machining and other manufacturing trades, some businesses have expressed the concern that the “skills gap” also includes some basic skills that are needed in advance of becoming a successful apprentice, such as Soft Skills, OSHA Basics, Shop Math, Measurements and Machine Basics. In response to that need, AAI has developed a program to prepare people, some as young as high school age, to acquire these basic skills prior to starting an apprenticeship, putting them on firm ground to succeed at the very start of their apprenticeship

In partnership with Tooling U (Online Learning), AAI will soon roll out their pre-apprenticeship program. AAI Pre-Apprenticeship Coordinator Michael Briggs has spoken to more than 350 students at local high schools about the opportunity. To date, some 61 students have expressed interest in the program. Participants will receive a certificate for their Tooling U education that would then be a credit toward a registered apprenticeship’s related instruction if they get hired as an apprentice.

Participants will also take part in interviews with employers who are willing to host a summer intern for 200 hours. Statistics from the Department of Labor (DOL) [Download Report] show that 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000.

Right now, there is federal money available for manufacturers who want to train their workers. Our grant can offer companies up to $3,000, per apprentice, to get the training needed for that worker to be successful. In addition to manufacturing, AAI also helps companies in the growing fields of cybersecurity and information technology, drones and nanotechnology.

“There’s no time like the present to begin investing in your workforce, says AAI Program Director Nate Crossett. “We hear every day from struggling companies the need for highly qualified and trained workers. Our grant can help manufacturers prepare the next generation of their workforce and ensure they are around for decades to come.”

If you would like to know more about AAI’s programs, please go here:

About the Author and AAI:

Jodi Delapaz is the Communications Coordinator for AAI. AAI helps companies registered in the apprenticeship program recruit, train, retain and develop a diverse workforce of skilled employees, and can help employers set up an apprenticeship program. AAI also helps high school and college students, disconnected youth, unemployed adults, minorities and veterans prepare for and secure apprenticeship opportunities. There is no charge to enroll in the program. This program is available to residents and businesses located in the following New York State counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, Schuyler, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins.

This workforce product (blog post) was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. This product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability or ownership.