Help Wanted: Apprenticeships in the 21st Century
The United States is experiencing a rapid and profound transition from an industrial economy to a digital, global, and knowledge-based and service-based economy. Like much of America, our city and region has struggled with this economic transition. The Two Tomorrows, a recent report from the Fund for Our Economic Future, challenges us to imagine a Northeast Ohio that "embraces strategies in job creation, job preparation and job access to fully realize its potential, achieve economic growth, and increase access to opportunity for all people."
There's no denying that America is experiencing a skills gap. In December, about 6.6 million Americans were unemployed, but companies had almost as many job openings. In many cases, the people looking for work simply aren’t qualified for the positions that companies need to fill. One solution to address the labor shortage and the skills gap are apprenticeship programs.
Long been associated with construction trades, today's apprenticeship programs span multiple industries including IT, financial services, healthcare, and cybersecurity. And they're not just for high school graduates who do not want to attend college - individuals from former teachers to displaced manufacturing workers could benefit from an apprenticeship program.
What are the traits of successful apprenticeship programs? Can they address Northeast Ohio's skills gap? How can we ensure these programs are open to all, including women and people of color?
Pamela Howze, Ph.D.
Program Director of Work Based Learning, National Fund for Workforce Solutions
Apprenticeship Program Manager, Manufacturing Works
Senior Manager, Workforce Development, The Lincoln Electric Company
Manager, Hourly Workforce Development, Swagelok
CEO, The City Club of Cleveland