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Serving Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, & Saginaw Counties

Apprenticeships Gaining Speed as Hiring Solution

GLBMW's Kristen Wenzel moderates a panel discussion with employers
GLBMW's Kristen Wenzel moderates a panel discussion with employers

Apprenticeships Gaining Speed as Hiring Solution

Say the word “apprentice” and what comes to mind for many people is the old-school image of a young, inexperienced, unskilled worker tagging along behind a much older, more skilled and experienced mentor.

Employers in the skilled trades know better. They have benefited from apprenticeships for decades. Today, apprenticeships are gaining speed in all industries as a solution for employers challenged to find qualified talent with the skills and expertise needed for specific jobs.

An executive order from President Donald Trump this past summer expanded the opportunities to develop apprenticeships by trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations.

Combining a paid-work component and a related classroom instructional component, apprenticeships provide trainees with the practical and theoretical aspects of a high skilled occupation.

Apprenticeships give employers an opportunity to evaluate a trainee’s soft skills, commitment to lifelong learning, and “fit” in their organization. Apprentices gain valuable skills and earn national industry certification.

“The transferability of that certification is a concern to some employers,” says Kristen Wenzel, Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! chief operating officer. “I often hear, ‘why invest in someone who can just leave and take their skills somewhere else,’” she says. “But we find job seekers, of all ages, are very drawn to employers who invest in them.”

If you are interested in starting a discussion about developing an apprenticeship program in your business or organization, start with the Talent Experts at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! in Saginaw, Midland, Bay, Gratiot and Isabella counties. Contact your BST representative or Kristen Wenzel at kristenw@michiganworks.com.

In photo above: Kristen Wenzel moderates a panel discussion with employers about the challenges of creating the next generation of skilled trades workers at Bay Area On the Go last November. Pictured (from left to right) are David Wenner, director of global labor relations at General Motors Corporation; Nick Klein, factory manager at Michigan Sugar; Todd Marsh, director of human resources at Consumers Energy; Harvey Schneider, skilled trades manager at Delta College; Jimmy Greene, president & CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors Greater MI Chapter.

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