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In a recently released report, the National Governors Association (NGA) details efforts among States to encourage manufacturing growth.  Registered Apprenticeship is identified as a part of the strategy being used in the efforts of some states to help re-establish the U.S. as a leader in manufacturing. 

The report, “Making” Our Future: What States Are Doing to Encourage Growth in Manufacturing through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Investment,” focuses on the results of an NGA Center for Best Practices Policy Academy where teams from eight states—California, Colorado, ConnecticutIllinoisKansasMassachusettsNew York and Pennsylvania—participated in an intensive, year-long strategic planning process to support advanced manufacturing by combining workforce education and support for business innovation, university-industry partnerships and public and private sector entrepreneurship.

The report, released in January 2013, discusses a shifting policy agenda - from a focus of how to “rescue and retain existing footholds in manufacturing,” to a debate on how to “set the stage to lead the world in new technologies and innovations that are changing the face of manufacturing.”  Starting with a look at the current state of manufacturing in the U.S., the report provides an overview of the importance of manufacturing to our economy (65% of U.S. trade; responsible for the employment of 63 % of our domestic scientists and engineers), and how manufacturing has changed over the last several years to high-tech, high efficiency processes that include the use of robotics, bio-manufacturing, smart sensors, cloud-based computing and nanotechnology.  The report goes on to detail how these new technologies require employees with new skills.  To produce these skills, the report contends, entrepreneurs, economic developers, educators, students and parents will “need new approaches and capabilities to boost competitiveness and gain the maximum benefits from the changes.”  The changing landscape of manufacturing is not depicted by the NGA report as a problem, but rather an opportunity for the U.S. to re-emerge as a leader of innovation and production.  

The report next provides an overview of what eight States are doing to “Forge New Manufacturing Strengths,” and Registered Apprenticeship is highlighted as part of those efforts. 

Registered Apprenticeship Highlights

Washington - Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee
The report provides a “Best Practice Model – Washington’s Workforce Intermediaries” (Pg. 34) which highlights one of our Registered Apprenticeship Trailblazer and Innovator programs – a program recognized for its embodiment of the 21st Century Vision for Registered Apprenticeship.  The example highlights the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC)’s efforts to address demand for skilled workers in Washington’s Aerospace industry. 

Colorado – Addressing Skill Gaps
In Colorado the use of internships, Apprenticeships and other mentor-based approaches are recommended to address “Gaps in skills and experiences of workers," a top priority in the State’s efforts to revamp its manufacturing sectors. (Pg. 35)

Illinois - Manufacturing STEM Learning Exchange
In Illinois, a statewide public-private effort has led to the recent launch of a Manufacturing STEM Learning Exchange aimed at coordinating resources and investments to support the development of a manufacturing talent pipeline that includes the use of mentorships, internships, and apprenticeships as practical learning opportunities. (Pg. 38)

For more on the report, visit:
http://www.nga.org/cms/home/nga-center-for-best-practices/center-publications/page-ehsw-publications/col2-content/main-content-list/making-our-future.html

 

PBS NewsHour article, "The Youth Unemployment Crisis: A Fix That Works and Pays For Itself" shares Economist, Urban Institute Fellow, and American University Professor Bob Lerman's thoughts on why Apprenticeship can be the answer to address Youth Unemployment in the U.S.

From the article, written by Paul Solman....Lerman starts by asking: 

"What if I told you that a U.S. public-private initiative could reduce youth unemployment, improve the transition from school-to-careers, upgrade skills, raise wages of young adults, strengthen a young worker's identity, increase U.S. productivity, achieve positive returns for employers and workers, and reduce government spending?.....
So what is it? To expand apprenticeship training, expand it significantly enough to become a viable alternative for most young people and a common method of recruitment and training by employers."

We continue our Trailblazer and Innovator Spotlight series this week with a look at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) located in Bremerton, Washington.  PSNS & IMF’s Mission is simply: “Maintain and modernize our Navy’s fleet.”  A mission with few words; A responsibility beyond words.  The PSNS was originally established in 1891 as a Naval Station.  It was designated Navy Yard Puget Sound in 1901.  From its start, PSNS has played an important role in preparing and maintaining U.S. Naval ships and submarines.  During World War II, the Shipyard’s primary effort was the repair of battle damaged ships of the U.S. Fleet and those of its Allies.

The facility’s use of Registered Apprenticeship dates back to its beginnings, when in 1901, the Shipyard Labor Board hired six young men to serve as its first class of apprentices.  Today, PSNS & IMF have registered, trained, and graduated nearly 9,000 apprentices.  PSNS & IMF apprentices have been involved in the building and maintenance of some of our nation’s first submarines, and today maintain U.S. nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers all over the world.

The PSNS & IMF Registered Apprenticeship program has always offered its apprentices a formal education as part of its apprenticeship program, working in partnership with area educators since 1925.  Today, through co-operative education agreements with Olympic College, apprentices  earn an Associate in Technical Arts degree by the conclusion of the third year of their four-year apprenticeship. Supporting the apprentice program is a trades helper program that prepares entry level workers for apprenticeship and through long-standing partnerships  with ---local career and technical educators they’ve also established the opportunity for High School students to prepare for a Registered Apprenticeship in a High School Work Study program 

The PSNS & IMF apprenticeship program was recognized as a Trailblazer and Innovator program, which recognized innovative training models that embody the 21st century vision for apprenticeship, during the Department of Labor’s “OutEducate OutBuild OutInnovate Education and Action Summit” in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the National Apprenticeship Act.  

Bryan Watland, Apprenticeship Program Administrator for the PSNS & IMF, represented the program during the August 1, 2012 event, in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Watland was presented with a Certificate of Recognition presented by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, and Administrator of Apprenticeship John V. Ladd.

Mr. Watland had this to say about the recognition the program received and Registered Apprenticeship’s long-standing role with the PSNS & IMF. 

“Registered Apprenticeship is one of the principal ways that we develop the workforce at PSNS & IMF.  It’s been a part of our development plans since 1901.  We believe formal education and the rigors of the Apprenticeship model provide us with a highly trained workforce prepared to maintain our Navy’s ships and submarines.”

For more on the apprenticeship opportunities PSNS & IMF offer, please download and share the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Trailblazer and Innovator Fact Sheet.  For more on the PSNS & IMF facility, please visit: http://www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/puget/default.aspx.

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