Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared the week of November 15 to 21 as Michigan Apprenticeship Week to highlight the vital role registered apprenticeships play in supporting both employers who need skilled talent and Michigan’s workers who gain skills toward rewarding, high-demand and high-wage careers. As part of this week, Whitmer encouraged Michiganders to consider earning while learning through a paid registered apprenticeship program.
“Registered apprenticeships offer a pathway to a good-paying career for thousands of Michiganders and help employers have access to the highly skilled talent they need to succeed,” said Whitmer. “Michigan is proud to be a national leader in using the Registered Apprenticeship Program model for skill development, and we are excited about the benefits it offers students, career seekers, workers, and businesses throughout the state as we continue to work to close the skills gap.”
Michigan is among the nation’s leaders in registered apprenticeships, with nearly 20,000 active apprentices in more than 1,000 registered apprenticeship programs in 2020.
“Registered apprenticeships provide tremendous opportunity and a pathway for hardworking Michiganders to succeed in high-demand, high-wage careers,” said Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) Director Susan Corbin. “We continue to focus on the growth of registered apprenticeships in Michigan by encouraging citizens to explore opportunities to gain in-demand skills without extensive tuition debt, and by helping employers grow the needed skill talent, creating more and better jobs.”
Registered apprenticeship programs enable employers to immediately begin a transfer of knowledge from current to future high-value workers. They are industry-driven, high-quality career training programs in which employers develop and prepare their future workforce. Apprentices get a paycheck from day one; obtain paid work experience, related classroom instruction and a national industry-recognized credential upon program completion; and most importantly, the right skills in a new and promising career.
“As we celebrate Apprenticeship week, we would like to thank Gov. Whitmer for recognizing the value of apprenticeship-based careers in our state,” said Price Dobernick, President of Michigan Pipe Trades Association. “Gov. Whitmer has worked tirelessly to support apprenticeship-based careers through restoring prevailing wage, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and investing in infrastructure projects across the state. All these initiatives help our industries thrive and provide opportunities for Michiganders from all trades to launch their careers.”
According to the most recent statistics available through the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Management Data System, Michigan ranks fifth nationally in active apprentices (19,397), seventh in active programs (1,085) and seventh in new apprentices (5,384).
“When celebrating this year’s Apprenticeship week, we should remind those that view building trades work as a second-rate career of the endless opportunities right here in Michigan. Michigan Building Trades Unions debt-free earn-as- you- learn registered apprenticeship programs provide a pathway to secure employment while providing high earnings and benefits,” said Steve Claywell, President of the Michigan Building Trades Council. “These apprenticeship programs offer industry-driven state-of-the-art curriculum with training facilities second to none. We would like to thank Governor Whitmer for her continued support of apprenticeship programs and infrastructure investment in Michigan. The opportunity for registered apprenticeship programs to thrive in Michigan have never been greater and our time is now.”
Michigan obtained federal funds this past year to support its registered apprenticeship expansion efforts, including a $10 million USDOL grant in July. These funds support activities to help those most severely impacted by COVID-19, expanding registered apprenticeship opportunities for women, people of color, individuals with disabilities and those without a high school diploma or equivalent.
Employers and labor organizations offer registered apprenticeship opportunities and training in fields such as advanced manufacturing, construction, energy, healthcare, information technology and mobility, ensuring Michigan’s economy continues to grow and thrive.
“Apprenticeship Week helps industries across the state showcase skilled trades apprenticeships, as well as share how these programs provide career pathways for underserved communities including women, communities of color, veterans and people with disabilities,” said Jonas Talbott, president of the IBEW State Conference. “IBEW registered apprenticeship programs produce highly skilled, highly paid workers through debt-free, technologically-advanced education. They offer opportunities for individuals to earn as they learn while earning competitive wages and valuable benefits.”
Registered apprenticeship program completion also results in a national, industry-recognized credential upon completion, supporting Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 initiative to increase the number of working-age adults in the state with a skill certificate or college degree to 60 percent by the year 2030.
Employers and career seekers interested in starting registered apprenticeships should visit www.Michigan.gov/Apprenticeship. Additionally, an informational webinar on registered apprenticeships will be held for employers and interested individuals on Wednesday, November 17 from 10 to 10:45 a.m. For those who would like to learn more about the benefits of registered apprenticeship, as well as hear directly from employers and their apprentices, please register for this free, online event at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g2U8YliZScy0rMg6fQu22w.