Three Cheers for Apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 11-17) provides a great opportunity for the construction industry to promote, celebrate or create apprenticeship programs

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November 11-17, 2019, is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) in the United States. Championed by the United States Department of Labor, NAW is a week-long event that "highlights the benefits of apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries." During NAW, apprenticeship sponsors can showcase their programs, facilities and apprentices in their communities.

In 2017, the third annual NAW had 930 individual events attended by more than 105,000 attendees. NAW had over 4,000 posts on Twitter and Instagram and over 53.8 million social media impressions. All 50 states participated in NAW with 114 official proclamations made by governors, mayors and senators.

There are many apprenticeship programs in the construction industry, and the opportunity for many more. In fact, some suggest that apprenticeship programs are the way out of the labor shortage.

Why America Needs to Follow Europe's Lead on Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeships offer great opportunities and benefits for construction companies and the apprentices. Apprentices can get paid while learning and working. It' can be a much better option for someone who does not want to do all their learning in the classroom. Plus, it gets them into the workforce right away. Good for the apprentice and good for the construction companies who need to fill open positions.

Plus, construction companies who sponsor their own apprenticeship programs have the ability to train their workers from the start on company practices. Instead of trying to retrain an employ hired from another company or industry, contractors can instill company policies, best practices and comapny work ethic right from the start.

If you have an apprenticeship program or work with apprentices in your construction company, NAW is the perfect time to not only recognize those apprentices personally but to advertise and promote your program and the benefits of being an apprentice in the construction industry.

As suggested in many of my other blogs, use NAW as a reason to speak to local high school and college students about either your apprenticeship program or other construction apprenticeship programs available. Write an op-ed for your local newspaper. Post on social media. Just get the word out. But make sure to highlight all the positives and be clear why apprenticeships are a great option. Unfortunately, the construction industry is still fighting the battle of getting many people outside the industry to recognize it as a viable, good choice for a career and not a last ditch job for those who couldn't cut it elsewhere.

Get involved in NAW

The U.S. Department of Labor has several suggestions on how to get involved in NAW.

  • Business open houses
  • High school career fairs
  • Skills competitions
  • Industry roundtable events
  • National Apprenticeship Week official proclamation

Beyond NAW, the U.S. Department of Labor has additional resources for construction companies wanting to start an apprenticeship program.

Does your company offer or work with an apprenticeship program? Has your construction company hired an apprentice? What are your thoughts?

Do you think the construction industry should focus more on creating and bringing apprentices into the industry?

Share your thoughts and opinions with

Just for fun

There's more than just National Apprenticeship Week happening in November. You might want to celebrate some of these other special holidays and occasions as well.

  • November 3 - Sandwich Day
  • November 8 - Cook Something Bold Day
  • November 13 - World Kindness Day
  • November 15 - Clean Your Refrigerator Day (don't forget the one in the breakroom, too)
  • November 16 - National Fast Food Day
  • November 25 - National Parfait Day
  • November 28 - French Toast Day (a light breakfast before your Thanksgiving feast)
  • November 29 - Square Dance Day (burn off those Thanksgiving calories!)

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