As local leaders gather virtually for City Summit, the U.S. Department of Labor will be simultaneously celebrating the 2021 National Apprenticeship Week on November 15-21, 2021. National Apprenticeship Week brings together labor and business leaders, educational institutions, jobseekers and local leaders to uplift how apprenticeships support preparing a highly skilled, diverse workforce to meet the talent needs of employers in cities, towns and villages across the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an inequitable impact on workers, especially those without an education past high school, workers of color, and women. Workers with a high school degree or less have been displaced at nearly three times the rate as those with a bachelor’s. Minority workers, particularly women of color, have shouldered the greatest job losses due to their concentration in low-wage service industries that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn.
As an example, as NLC’s recent report, Hard to Fill Infrastructure Jobs: A Challenge to Building our Future shows, if we do nothing to improve labor market outcomes for infrastructure-related jobs, we can anticipate that as a nation we will struggle to fill at least 4.5 million jobs associated with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act currently before Congress. And that is just one industry. Across the country, labor shortages are impacting businesses of all sizes. Addressing the ability to earn and learn through an apprenticeship model is an important tool in the workforce development toolbox to help our residents meet current demand and support local economies.
In addition to supporting at-scale investment in workforce development programs through the Build Back Better Act, NLC supports the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which invests more than $3.5 billion over 5 years in expanding opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. The proposal would create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system.
Here are three ways local leaders can support the 7th Annual National Apprenticeship Week:
- Issue a Proclamation or Host an Event: Help uplift the power of apprenticeships in creating a critical talent pipeline that addresses your local workforce challenges. Issue a proclamation or host a local event to share the importance of this training model on critical local industries, such as a clean energy workforce and rebuilding our country’s infrastructure.
- Share with Constituents: Share the National Apprenticeship Week mailer with local community organizations and stakeholders and welcome them to participate in the national celebration.
- Amplify Your Work: Share your proclamations, events and local actions with the Department of Labor so that they can amplify and share your work with others. Email your National Apprenticeship Week pictures, videos, proclamations, and articles to NAW@dol.gov and use the hashtag #NAW2021 on social media posts.