The week of Nov. 12-18 marks the fourth National Apprenticeship Week, highlighting the value of registered apprenticeship to Virginia’s workforce.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a proclamation citing the vital importance of registered apprenticeship to Virginia’s economy. The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board and its partners are celebrating the week with a series of events to showcase the impact of apprenticeship on businesess, individuals, and communities.
The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board has been spotlighted by the U. S. Department of Labor for leading workforce initiatives that include innovative apprenticeship models. Through a $4 million American Apprenticeship Initiative grant received from the U.S. Department of Labor, SVWDB developed the Valley to Virginia (V2V) American Apprenticehsip Initiative, that focuses on expanding apprenticeship to address workforce shortages in Virginia and on opening apprenticeship pathways for underrepresented individuals. V2V has been highlighted by DOL for its grant performance and enrichments to the apprenticeship model. V2V is currently working with 81 employer sponsors of the registered apprenticeship training model, and has enrolled 680 new registered apprentices in the grant.
In September 2018, Dr. Sharon Johnson, CEO for the SVWDB presented at the “On-The-Job: Rebuilding the Workforce through Apprenticeships” session as a panelist for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Innovations reported included a “boot camp” developed to enhance qualifications of candidates for The Hershey Company’s Stuarts Draft based Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship program and Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC)’s pre-apprenticeship program for individuals with disabilities.
Registered apprenticeship has evolved to incorporate in-house company trainers, competency based advancement, accelerated learning models, and youth apprenticeship in high school. Over 1000 diverse occupations exist in traditional trades as well as cybersecurity, healthcare, transportation, and other industries.