- To address the widening skills gap, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) plans to add an additional $105 million to $200 million in funding to the $95 million set aside for apprentice programs this year, The Washington Post reports. Many of those apprenticeships may be going to white collar workers.
- In June, President Donald Trump signed an order expanding the apprenticeship concept by establishing “industry-recognized apprenticeships.” Developed by third parties, the programs could be created by industry associations or companies. DOL will have to approve the programming for eligibility for grants and credentials.
- Chicago-based Aon launched its program and is sharing their expertise with other companies in the Chicago area. Aon's 25 current apprentices work four days a week and attend one of the city's colleges one day a week, working toward a four-year degree.
While traditionally associated with trade jobs, apprenticeships are moving into the white collar arena. Companies looking to create a stream of tech candidates are leading the way. Amazon, for example, launched its program targeting military veterans. Working successfully with a Washington state tech association they filled over 75 positions and are considering expansion. Google recently pledged $1 billion toward upskilling, putting money toward scholarship programs, online education and various education non-profits.
In the Trump DOL, apprenticeships have been the main talking point for Secretary Alexander Acosta, touted as a way for the country to overcome a lack of jobs in the STEM fields, in particular. Whether there is a skills gap, a lack of candidates or an opportunity to shift careers midstream, both employers and employees are recognizing the worth of such programs. Apprentice programs provide on-the-job training with pay, helping employees earn while they learn. For the employer, the programs provide a steady stream of talent to hire and promote.
Many companies are diving even deeper, partnering with local initiatives to get children in K12 interested in STEM fields and the potential jobs they could have in the future.