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Apprenticeships Aren’t Just for Blue Collar Jobs

| Education & Workforce Development

For many, the word apprenticeship strikes an immediate association with an outdated stigma that’s not reflective of today’s programs. Long associated with blue collar industries, apprenticeship programs are now expanding into major corporations to train talent for white collar jobs, changing the landscape of apprenticeships across the country. This Washington Post article explores this change and its impact on our nation’s workforce.

To tell this story, the article introduces us to Andrew Skelnik, a Chicago apprentice. Skelnik attempted to enroll in apprenticeships through local unions as he was starting his career after watching his father, an electrician, and his uncle, a carpenter, improve their crafts and careers. While he was waitlisted for those opportunities, he began studying computer programming. An advisor at his community college then approached him about an apprenticeship opportunity at Accenture, where he received on-the-job training and mentoring, while also pursuing his education. Earlier this year, Skelnik was hired as a software engineering analyst at the company.

This is just one story out of thousands that shows how modern apprenticeships are growing. These programs are cultivating a highly skilled workforce, ready to alleviate the challenges plaguing businesses across all industries. Breaking down the stigma that has followed the term “apprenticeship,” these programs are integral to enticing more talent and strengthening workforce development in every corner of the country. This #WorkReadyWednesday, I encourage you to read about IBM’s recently launched program in RTP and the company’s “New Collar” focus. While IBM’s first set of apprentices were hired just a couple of months ago, the company is committed to growing the program to 100 apprentices in locations across the country in 2018, providing a 21st century program that cultivates emerging technical skills and cutting edge experiences. We’re excited to see this program and others grow in the coming months and years and remain focused on advancing apprenticeships across the state. For more information on what we’re doing to grow apprenticeships, please contact Cassi Zumbiel, policy development manager for the NC Chamber Foundation.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber