Unemployment is at an all-time low and employers around the United States are looking to find a workforce that will fulfill their business needs. That’s why industry-specific training programs in the form of apprenticeships and other training programs are vital to helping workers gain the skills they need for middle-skill jobs. Here are three innovative new programs that are making strides in training workers to help meet employers’ needs while creating career advancement opportunities for workers.
Expanding apprenticeship to new industries and new workers is one way of meeting industry needs. In many states, apprenticeships are an emerging effort and create an opportunity to meet the growing demand for workers in industries like healthcare. The Community Health Worker Apprenticeship program is an initiative developed through a partnership between 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH), the Bronx Lebanon Hospital and LaGuardia Community. The mission of the program is to train and employ people for positions as community health workers. It is a 6-month program made up of classroom instruction, mentorship and on-the-job training with guidance from current community health workers. Upon completion, participants earn a nationally recognized credential through the Department of Labor and are promoted to community health worker positions.
The California Civil Service Improvement information technology apprenticeship program is the first public sector IT apprenticeship program in the country. This apprenticeship pilot program is available to Sacramento state employees, from participating departments, who are interested in IT careers. For up to two years, apprentices take classes two nights a week online or in person, receive on-the-job training, and on Fridays attend cohort study sessions to complete homework assignments. Upon completion, the students receive a certificate of apprenticeship recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards, a Cisco certification, 24 college credits and may apply to earn additional credits for the on-the-job work experience. Key partners that help manage this program are California Government Operations Agency, SEIU Local 1000, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and Mission College in Santa Clara.
In addition to apprenticeship, some programs are utilizing multiple federal funding streams to train workers for industry-specific jobs. The Civic Works Baltimore Center for Green Careers is an example of this. This organization uses funding through the Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant, U. S Department of Labor, philanthropic dollars, and SNAP E&T to train Baltimore city residents from historically marginalized communities for environmental jobs. Their training tracks include weatherization, solar, stormwater, and brownfields. Their brownfields remediation training program is a 5-week essential skills and credential-based training program preparing Baltimore residents for careers in brownfields remediation. Upon completion of the training, participants receive 7 different credentials and are provided with job placement assistance and 2 years of post-job placement and case management support.
These programs are examples of efforts happening across the country to connect more people with the skills they need to succeed in the labor market. It shows that stakeholders across a range of industries are partnering to remove barriers to success and provide industry-specific training so that more workers can have the skills they need to obtain careers and more employers can meet their workforce needs. These types of training efforts that connect workers and employers will help ensure the narrowing of the skills gap.