Iowa Workforce Development is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with a focus this year on the innovation that is driving new growth to IWD’s Registered Apprenticeship programs across the state.
In a news release, the workforce agency said the state has remained a leader not only in the growth of new RA programs, but also in the unique ways it is forming partnerships to build the workforce pipeline in more professions than ever.
National Apprenticeship Week, which this year is Nov. 13-19, is a nationwide celebration between employers, apprentices and various partners that reflects on the success and value of RA programs in the workforce.
IWD is commemorating the week by showcasing success stories, hosting events and promoting how RA programs are expanding to create new approaches to preparing the next generation of Iowa workers.
“Registered Apprenticeship programs produce invaluable skills that provide two great benefits for Iowans – immediate real work experience and assistance with charting the course for a successful career,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in IWD’s release.
“Iowa’s early recognition of apprenticeship programs has set us apart from many other states, and we’re continuing to widen the gap as we explore innovative ways to get high school students and adults into successful career pathways.”
Earlier this year, the governor was in Bettendorf for the 2023 Quad Cities High School Apprenticeship Signing Day event. More than 70 area students signed on to build a career by doing an apprenticeship at a Quad Cities company to become a welder, software engineer, EMT, machinist or mechanic. The signing event, hosted by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, was held at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center.
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that in Federal Fiscal Year 2023, Iowa continued to make strides in the growth of RA programs. It also saw increases in nearly every notable category, including new and active programs, participating employers, total apprentices and overall completions. According to the DOL data, it also nearly doubled the number of new programs it helped create, and supported a 43% increase in high school apprentices.
The RA statistics in Iowa include:
- New Programs: 169 (up from 163)
- Active Programs: 957 (up from 890)
- IWD created programs: 63 (up from 38)
- Employers Engaged: 2,136 (up from 1,988)
- Total Apprentices: 9,954 (up from 9,731)
- Total High School Apprentices: 293 (up from 204)
- Total New Apprentices: 5,947 (up from 5,402)
- Certificates Awarded: 1,946 (up from 1,870)
Following legislation signed by Gov. Reynolds earlier this year, Iowa has been developing a new State Apprenticeship Agency. The SAA will ultimately better position the state to promote innovation in RA models and create more efficiencies for programs involving high school students, jobseekers and employers.
“The sooner that more employers and their communities can implement these unique models to recruit young Iowans into apprenticeships, the more that we’ll see our workforce pipeline grow,” IWD Executive Director Beth Townsend said.
“RA programs are about maximizing the talent we have here now and helping them create a feasible pathway to a long and successful career.”