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Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

It's National Apprenticeship Week, the US Department of Labor’s (US DOL) fifth-annual, nationwide celebration of apprenticeship programs and their participants! ACT is proud to partner with community colleges, industry associations, career and technical educators, and others in the workforce system charged with developing successful work-based learning programs. We’re sending a huge thank-you to our partners leveraging ACT WorkKeys® and the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate® (NCRC®) to provide their students and apprentices with a nationally recognized credential.

What is an apprenticeship, and why is it important?

The US DOL defines apprenticeship as an “industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.”

This combination of “learn and earn” can provide invaluable experiences to individuals for several reasons:

  • Connecting the dots between classroom instruction and the workplace
  • Creating an intersection of academic, technical, and essential skills 
  • Building a network between job seekers and employers 
On the flip side, companies that use apprenticeship programs gain tremendous benefits as well. Apprenticeship and other work-based learning programs can:

  • Provide cost-effective and customizable training
  • Improve the bottom line with higher productivity, lower turnover, lower recruitment costs, and increased workplace safety 
  • Build a pipeline of skilled employees 

The Future of Apprenticeship is Bright

The landscape of work-based learning is changing. Traditionally, apprenticeship programs have been reserved for construction trades, manufacturing, and other manual labor jobs. The opportunities are changing to meet the demands of 21st-century jobs.

Apprenticeships span a variety of industries such as healthcare, information technology (IT), cybersecurity, energy, hospitality, and much more. Research shows that 91% of apprentices continue employment after the conclusion of an apprenticeship program.

Miami Dade College is one example of an institution reinventing the apprenticeship model.


“What the apprenticeship model does, and other apprenticeship-like programs we’re developing, is it allows us to continue to extend our footprint to those we traditionally didn’t serve... We’re now bringing new opportunities to communities so they can now have career pathways that the previously didn’t know exist.”
- John Wensveen
  Vice Provost Academic Schools, Miami Dade College
The good news doesn’t stop there. In addition to expanding apprenticeship opportunities into untapped industries, a large bucket of funding is now available to support this effort. The US DOL is providing $100+ million in funding to garner 1 million new apprentices in three years.

Watch the video below to hear from US DOL State Director of North and South Carolina Charles Vaughan.

“Ten years ago, we had about 700 apprentices and about 500 programs. Now, we have over 1,000 programs and 22,000 apprentices. The national goal is over 1 million apprentices by 2024.”
- Charles Vaughan
   US Department of Labor State Director

Partner to Build Successful Work-Based Learning Programs

Many of ACT’s partners find that foundational skills, like those evaluated with WorkKeys® Assessments, are essential to student success. Not only can WorkKeys determine skill levels, but also it can prepare students for success by closing identified skill gaps.

For example, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) has partnered with ACT for 10 years to provide a stackable certification for next-generation careers in both Advanced Manufacturing and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics. MSSC and ACT’s unparalleled national infrastructure includes certification centers and partnerships with local and national stakeholder communities that include secondary, postsecondary, corrections, military, charitable organizations, and industry. The NCRC helps ensure that individuals have the academic and employability skills needed to enter a demanding MSSC advanced manufacturing (CPT) and/or advanced material handling (CLT) certification program of training and assessment.

Accelerating the use of these credentials will help individuals find jobs and provide employers with workers who have the academic, employability, and 21st-century advanced manufacturing and logistics skills important to success. The partnership has a proven track record with job placement rates of 70% to 90%.

Watch this free webinar to see a more in-depth look at leveraging national certifications in apprenticeship programs.

In a recent episode of Ready for Work, several leaders in postsecondary education and business discuss their use of work-based learning programs at the community level. Click here to listen and learn about the personal and economic results that can be gained from creating such programs.

Tell us how you are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by tagging ACT and using the hashtag #NAW2019.

Interested in developing and implementing apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship or other work-based learning programs? Reach out to ACT and explore how we can partner with you.

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About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career.