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Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is Bonnie Graybill, the Deputy Division Chief, Labor Market Information Division from California. 

California’s Labor Market Information Division began studying the green economy in 2008.  Policy makers and lay customers alike wanted to know “what is a green job?”, “how many of them are in the state (and/or my local area)”, and “what kind of training is required?” In order to understand the emerging green economy, we began to read and analyze the many relevant research papers and articles, and to connect with green businesses, university researchers, community colleges and other training providers, LMI staff in other states, and other stakeholders.

We could see that the only way to answer stakeholders’ questions about California’s green jobs was to conduct a survey. When we began this endeavor, there were no special funds for green research—we redirected staff towards this priority activity—create a definition our stakeholders agree to; develop a survey; select a statistically derived sample of over 50,000 California businesses, representing all industries, geographic areas and size classes; mail the survey; and continue to follow up with recipients until we had a sufficient number of responses.  Then the data cleaning and analysis began!

We have finally posted our summary report on our Understanding the Green Economy web page, six months after our goal date of Earth Day 2010.  (We began “leaking” findings then, but the “beg, borrow and steal” approach to staffing this project became a barrier to finalizing the report. Lesson learned…)

In summary, we found about 433,000 green jobs in California, representing about 3.4 percent of California’s employment.  Just under eight percent of California businesses employ workers in green jobs. Almost two-thirds of California businesses have adopted sustainable business practices, creating a demand for more green businesses. Take a look at our report for more findings!

As I prepare to retire from State service at the end of December, I am proud of the work our staff has done to rise to a new challenge, and to demonstrate that LMI staff can be relevant and responsive to a demand for new and emerging information.  Even more, I am proud of California for being a pioneer state in combating climate change, and envision a better future for our children and grandchildren.  Best wishes, Bonnie Graybill 

Editor's Note:  This update has been submitted by John Griffin, our guest blogger, who continues to share our community with exciting examples of how states are working hard to advance apprenticeship!

Although reeling from its worst unemployment rate in a generation, Illinois’s Registered Apprenticeship programs are working behind the scenes to prepare skilled workers for the future.

Illinois currently has 555 registered apprenticeship programs with approximately 15,080 apprentices.  A large percent of the programs are registered with individual companies that may employ one or two employees, or with corporations that employ thousands.  The others are affiliated with associations and/or labor organizations. Illinois is very proud of the range of occupations represented and of the high tech training centers located throughout the state.  One of the largest facilities is 342,000 sq. ft., has multiple high tech labs/ classrooms and state-of-the-art equipment.  Some of these high growth and emerging industries represent, from greatest to smallest, construction, advanced manufacturing, automotive, homeland security, energy, financial services and government/municipalities. 

And let’s not forget about the programs that have articulation agreements or direct affiliations with a college, which allows the apprentices to continue their education and receive an associate’s degree. 

Illinois is currently seeing a massive expansion in wind energy development.  The state saw its first wind farm construction in 2003 and now seven years later has proposed projects that could increase the number of wind turbines erected from 705 to more than 2,772 in the next five years according to data from Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy.   The Registered Apprenticeship community acted on this growth and submitted a proposal for the new apprenticeable occupation Wind Turbine Technician.  Within months the Operating Engineers Local #150 Joint Apprenticeship Fund registered the first Wind Turbine Technician program in the United States.  This quality training program will train apprentices to perform maintenance, operations and inspections on wind turbines and related facilities. 

The state has proven to have more than just a windy city to support energy jobs, but a windy prairie.  With that windy prairie sprouted another “Green” Registered Apprenticeship Program.  Pizzo Ecological Restoration registered a Landscape Technician program to support their mission to restore, create and convert high maintenance low function, chemically intensive landscapes to low maintenance, highly functional natural areas.  The Registered Apprenticeship System is supporting the beauty and wonder of our shared natural habitat.

Looking at solar energy, Illinois Registered Apprenticeship continues to encourage renewable energy by supporting the State of Illinois Energy Sector Partnerships and Training Grant.  The Northern Illinois Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program in partnership with the Boone and Winnebago Counties Illinois Workforce Investment Board supported the initiative to train approved individuals in solar energy and to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification exam.  This will provide opportunities for the out of work participants to build skills, receive credentials and provide career pathways that could lead to opportunities with  Wanxiang America Company, the new solar-panel manufacturer located in Rockford, Illinois.

Did you know that the Registered Apprenticeship programs in Illinois can be used for collecting Federal Education Benefits (GI BILL).  That’s right; our agency works hand-in-hand with the Illinois State Approving Agency to support approval and assistance to those veterans using their GI Bill benefits.  Currently, approximately 7% of the state’s Registered Apprentices receive these benefits and we anticipate this number growing with the recent partnership of TechWorks, Rock Valley College and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.  In addition to this exciting partnership, the State of Illinois provides their employers tax credit of up to $1,200 annually for hiring Veterans of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi Freedom.  (Illinois State Approving Agency 312/814-7258 or their website at

Illinois is home to eleven YouthBuild and three Job Corp training programs.  Both of these federally funded programs assist youth and young adults to strive for education and training in vocational trades/occupations.  The programs provide the opportunity for trainees to earn a high school degree or GED, which contributes to their career pathway and opens up opportunities to apply for the Registered Apprenticeship programs.  (Job Corp – 1/800-733-JOBS / or YouthBuild – 1/617-623-9900 /
Building equal opportunity in Illinois  for women and minorities includes the recognitions of The Chicago Women in Trades, an organization that works to increase the number of women in the skilled trades and other blue collar occupations and to eliminate the barriers that prohibit women from entering and remaining in non-traditional careers, Chicagoland Construction Labor & Management Professions (CISCO) – Education to Careers program, Illinois Department of Transportation – Highway Construction Careers Training Programs,  Tri-County Construction Labor Management Council Career Programs and Events in addition to numerous non-traditional career programs with community colleges, i.e., College of Dupage Non-Traditional Careers for Women, Rock Valley College – Non-Traditional Career Expo, Moraine Valley – Non-Traditional Mentoring program.

Illinois continues to recognize Registered Apprenticeship in the Federal and State Prisons.   Some of the skilled occupations recognized are Animal Trainer, Automotive Mechanic, Baker, Cook, Heating and Air Conditioning Installer-Service, Maintenance (Building/Electrician/Mechanic), Tailor, Waste/Water Treatment Operators and Welder.  The Offender Re-Entry program supports integration with Registered Apprenticeship and the public workforce investment system.  These efforts include career awareness events and sharing Illinois’s Re-Entry Resources, which include the Federal Bonding Program, Tax Credits, Criminal Record Repository and Placement Resource Units.

For those interested to learn more about Registered Apprenticeship in Illinois -

Office of Apprenticeship State Director – David R. Wyatt 312/596-5508
Apprenticeship Information Center – Maria Caldron 312/793-6822
Remember Adam Osielski?  We featured him a couple of years ago on the CoP.   He's a 5th-year apprentice with a mid-sized electrical contractor in downtown DC.  Check out his latest blog about how his sense of responsibility has changed now that he's officially a journeyman.
Do you have an apprentice you'd like to feature on the CoP?  Well, send them our way!
Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is Loretta Shelley, Apprenticeship Program Manager, from the great state of Kansas. 

In 2008, the Kansas Department of Commerce (Commerce) was awarded a three-year grant from the USDOL.  The grant, Registered Apprenticeship WORKS! (RA WORKS!), funds the Related Technical Instruction (RTI) portion of training for WIA Dislocated Workers in an approved Registered Apprenticeship program.  One company who has successfully made use of these grant funds is Tyson Foods, Inc.

Partnership development and cooperation was a critical step to the success of the project. The collaborative initiative included Tyson Foods, Kansas WorkforceONE (the WIA local entity), Garden City Community College, and Commerce – Registered Apprenticeship.  Kansas WorkforceONE staff identified and contacted potential Dislocated Workers and other targeted groups registered in the system.  They conducted an initial assessment/screening to determine eligibility for WIA programs, assessed potential “fit” with open positions at Tyson, and oversaw the prep and oversight of the WorkReady! Assessments for job candidates.  All interested job candidates participated in BEST training—a job retention and work ethic workshop, took a plant tour, and interviewed for employment at Tyson.  Maintenance Mechanics were then selected and registered in the Tyson Registered Apprenticeship program.

Garden City Community College (GCCC) provided the RTI for Tyson’s program and the RA WORKS! grant paid part of the RTI for the apprentices. Apprentices attended morning classes at GCCC Monday-Thursday and completed the on-the-job learning at Tyson in the afternoons and on Fridays. They were trained and assessed in 13 competency areas. Tyson’s in-house computerized training modules and practice lab aligned and complemented the RTI at GCCC.  It provided structured applied learning connections for the apprentices, as well as a means to demonstrate mastery of both academic and workplace competencies.     

Tyson is very pleased with the outcome and success of this project.  They anticipated that implementing the Registered Apprenticeship model would reduce their turnover, and it did.  The first class had nine apprentices. Eight successfully completed the program.  All apprentices were WIA eligible and were supported by either the RA WORKS! or RA Scholarship model.  Apprentices received WIA funding for transportation and tools required for their job, based on need.  A second group of nine apprentices have started the program.  The company is in talks to develop and implement the program in other states.  This project has truly been a win-win-win for all its partners.    

Manufacturing Summit 2010: Green Collar Jobs & Apprenticeship
Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
Washington, DC | November 9, 2010

Don't miss this opportunity to hear from leaders of industry, business, government, and education!  Confirmed speakers include...

  • US Senator Al Franken (MN)
  • US Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Caroline Faivet, President & CEO of Swatch Group (US)
  • Greg Chambers, DOL Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship
  • Blake Moret, Vice President at Rockwell Automation
  • Ueli Bernhard, CEO of
  • Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All
  • Manuel Sager, Ambassador-designate for the Embassy of Switzerland to the US
  • Hans Ulrich Bigler, President of SGV and the Swiss Trade Assosiation of SMEs

Summit registration includes entry to a Pre-Summit Reception at the Residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland on Monday, November 8th.

Space is limited, so click here to register early!