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2009: The Great Recession

Where Will You Be 10 Years From Now?


Few of us can disagree with the fact that the current, ongoing economic mess has turned the way work will be performed in the future on its head. To this end, workers—one, five, or 10 years from now—will not be able to simply rely on what they know and can do but rather whether or not they continue learning and are able to apply that newly-gained knowledge as means of survival. If history can be utilized as one predictor of the future, then we as a nation should not ignore the track record of Registered Apprenticeship (RA) as a proven method of supporting our workforce’s efforts to re-tool and up-skill. Accordingly, many of the joint labor-management (RA) programs I am familiar with have been focusing much of their attention on advancing and improving the technical and academic skills of their journey-workers over the past several years…long before the Great Recession hit! In addition, foreseeing that the new (workforce) world order would require a mix of skill sets, most of these same programs mentioned above implemented and offered college articulation agreements to their current apprentices to further instill and engrain the importance of lifelong learning. With today’s unending advances in technology, we must not sit idly by and wait for this malaise to pass in hopes that things will get better. As leaders, we are often faced with tough choices…this Administration needs to give more than lip service to RA as a vital economic recovery tool by promoting RA as an equal to other post-secondary options it often cites and funds! If so, in 10 years, maybe you will be one of those workers who can attest to the long-lasting, positive impact the ARRA had on your life not unlike those who came before us from the WPA and CCC during the Great Depression. 


Meet our guest blogger- Susan E. Symons who works for the Kansas Department of Commerce Registered Apprenticeship.  She attended the national ACTE conference a couple weeks ago and here’s what she had to say…

“Four thousand people and I attended the national ACTE conference in Nashville, TN two weeks ago and Jane Oates gave a right-on keynote on issues close to my heart:  Registered Apprenticeship AND Green!  Her first words were (loosely transcribed), “I have two words that should be forefront as you (educators) create and revise your CTE programs:  APPRENTICESHIP and GREEN.”

The keynote address was videotaped, so we'll post it shortly.  If you attended the conference, let us know what your thoughts.

Apprenticeship in the pipe trades is a highly selective program, and acceptance for training depends on the applicant's qualifications and the manpower needs of the trade at the time of the selection process. Local 486 Apprenticeship School created a video to showcase the school's training model and expectations.


Lansing, Michigan  Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth Deputy Director Andy Levin announced on June 22, 2009 that Michigan will devote $1 million from ARRA (Recovery Act) to create the Michigan Registered Apprenticeship Pilot (MRAP) program. MRAP funds will provide incentives to employers who partner with their local Michigan Works! Agencies across the state to sponsor 1,000 new apprentices in U.S. Depart (USDOL) registered apprenticeships.  MRAP, which began Aug. 1, 2009, offers employers a $1,000 incentive — $500 when the USDOL Apprenticeship Office certifies the start of the apprenticeship and $500 after the apprentice has completed six months of the training. In addition to the $1,000 incentive to the company, Michigan Works may — providing funding is available — choose to pay for classroom training for the apprentice.

The two-year program operates through local Michigan Works Agencies across the state. South Central Michigan Works registered the first five apprentices in Michigan, including Sheldon. Individuals in the MRAP program who meet No Worker Left Behind eligibility requirements will also be eligible to receive educational support of up to $5000 per year for a two year period, up to a total of $10,000.

In an effort to prepare Michigan’s female, minority, and economically disadvantaged workforce for apprenticeship positions, weatherization projects and other green construction jobs, Michigan is launching the Energy Conservation Apprenticeship Readiness (ECAR) Program through the use of ARRA Funds.


What’s your state doing to leverage ARRA Funds to advance Registered Apprenticeship?


Training Tomorrow’s Workforce
Community College and Apprenticeship as Collaborative
Routes to Rewarding Careers

This important new study from the Center for American Progress examines current collaborations between community colleges and registered apprenticeship programs.  It also recommends ways to expand these collaboraitons by increasing employer demand for apprenticeships.  Some of the suggestions:

  • Expanding the marketing budget for apprenticeship and providing incremental subsidies for employers who expand their apprenticeship programs.
  • Offering tax credits to employers who add apprentices to their workforce.
  • Developing new standards to reward experience gained on the job with college credits.
  • Using WIA discretionary funds at the state level to coordinate apprenticeship-community college partnerships.

The 41-page study is available by clicking on this link, and will be added to the RESOURCE section of this Community of Practice.

What sorts of community college-registered apprenticeship collaborations are successful in your local areas or states?  How might we be able to showcase them as best practices?