U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has announced the start of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). This year’s theme – Apprenticeships: Creating Tomorrow – celebrates the impact apprenticeship programs have in helping Americans learn skills for jobs in expanding industries. NAW will continue through Sunday, November 18th.
"Apprenticeship is a proven way to help Americans learn the skills they need for good, safe, family-sustaining jobs,” said Secretary Acosta. “National Apprenticeship Week provides an opportunity to showcase how businesses, labor, educational institutions, trade and industry groups, and public officials across the nation are expanding apprenticeships to develop a skilled, dedicated workforce.”
There are currently more than seven-million open jobs in the United States, and available jobs have exceeded job seekers for seven straight months. Many of these vacancies remain unfilled because job creators cannot find job seekers with the in-demand skills. Apprenticeships provide paid, relevant workplace experiences, as well as opportunities to develop skills which job creators demand.
Secretary Acosta was in Pittsfield, Maine last spring with Maine Senator Susan Collins to tour the Cianbro Institute facilities, and to get a sense of Cianbro's workforce development efforts. Answering questions during a press conference at the Institute, the Secretary said, "Companies are realizing that they, as companies, need to invest in people -- companies realize that they should do what Cianbro is doing, which is educate them in the latest techniques, and that's how you keep great workers."
Cianbro Chairman Pete Vigue followed up with a comment bolstering the Labor Secretary's point. "We believe workforce development is the most important issue we face at enhancing a strong economy," Pete said. "We're doing our part to model for others a process that has worked successfully for us for a number of years, and we encourage others to invest in the people that they employ."
Last summer, the U.S. Labor Department announced a grant program to accelerate the expansion of apprenticeships to new industry sectors, and to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans. Additionally, the Department launched a new digital platform: www.Apprenticeship.gov. This innovative web portal features an Apprenticeship Finder tool that offers career seekers a platform to search for apprenticeships by city, state, and occupation, and connects job seekers to high-skilled, high paying careers.
NAW events and activities can include apprenticeship program open houses for career seekers, skills competitions, community forums, apprentice graduations, business open houses, high school or college career fairs, apprenticeship signing days, industry roundtable events, and more.