(DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and other state leaders are previewing Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week and encourage Iowans to explore registered apprenticeship opportunities. Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week runs from November 13-17, 2017.
Gov. Reynolds signed a proclamation Nov. 2 to recognize the purpose and value of registered apprenticeship training and to pursue its further expansion. As of Nov. 2, Iowa had 846 active registered apprenticeship programs and 8,720 registered apprentices. In just the past month, Iowa has registered 17 new programs, and 141 registered apprentices have completed programs.
“Iowa is fortunate to have one of the leading registered apprenticeship programs in the country,” Gov. Reynolds said. “This strong foundation will serve us well as we work to grow more registered apprenticeship opportunities in Iowa, which will help our state be future ready now.”
The Future Ready Iowa Alliance recently made five recommendations to help Iowa reach its goal of having 70 percent of the state’s workforce equipped with education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. Registered apprenticeship growth aligns directly with the third recommendation: to expand high-quality work-based learning experiences in high-demand careers to all students—particularly those who are underserved.
Lt. Gov. Gregg said registered apprenticeship growth is critical for Iowans to be equipped with the skills employers are demanding.
“The skills gap in Iowa is real, and expanding registered apprenticeship opportunities for all Iowans will help employers train skilled workers,” he said. “With the retirement of baby boomers in the next 10 years, it’s critical we replace our highly-skilled and experienced workers. Adding new registered apprenticeship programs and expanding current registered apprenticeship programs will help us close the skills gap.”
Iowa Workforce Development is partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship and Iowa Economic Development Authority to grow registered apprenticeship programs in Iowa. The work is being supported by a $1.8 million grant received in October 2016.
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said an area of focus with the grant is growing registered apprenticeship opportunities in sectors outside the trades.
“Iowa has demonstrated strong support of the registered apprenticeship model in the trades, including construction, plumbing, carpentry, heating and cooling and electricians,” Townsend said. “We are meeting with employers throughout the state in other industries to introduce them to the registered apprenticeship model, including emerging industries like healthcare, information technology and advanced manufacturing. With more than 1,000 registered apprenticeship careers or occupations, most businesses can offer a registered apprenticeship career path.”
Iowa’s grant is also focused on encouraging women, minorities, youth, veterans and people with disabilities to explore registered apprenticeship careers in both the emerging industries and the trades.
As part of Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation and Awareness Week, IowaWORKS centers around the state are collaborating with community colleges, companies and other organizations to help coordinate registered apprenticeship events. Click here for a complete list.