Workforce Policy Experts, Fortune 500 Employers, Leading Intermediaries Join National Effort to Expand Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships for America (AFA), a new nonprofit focused on expanding registered apprenticeship programs nationwide,  announced the formation of its Advisory Council, which will bring together the employers, intermediaries, policymakers, and researchers responsible for shaping America’s approach to work-based learning in the 21st century. The council will guide AFA’s ongoing effort to build a stronger and more robust registered apprenticeship system across the country through collaboration with employers, intermediaries, education providers, labor and other organizations.”Despite a body of research indicating that apprenticeships can both help workers chart new pathways to economic mobility and address persistent talent shortages for employers, the model has struggled to gain momentum among U.S. businesses and policymakers,” said Advisory Council member Mary Alice McCarthy, PhD, Senior Director of the Center on Education & Labor at New America. “This is about elevating the evidence base for registered apprenticeships, understanding the important role played by intermediaries in organizing and helping to operate apprenticeship programs, and designing policies accordingly so apprenticeships can play a major role in the country’s economic recovery.”Apprenticeships for America launched in spring 2022 to respond to the challenges facing a strained and overburdened U.S. labor market. Chaired by Urban Institute Fellow and noted apprenticeship researcher Dr. Robert I. Lerman, the organization is bringing together a broad range of stakeholders including former senior federal policymakers, nonprofit leaders, employers, and apprenticeship providers to explore the potential of work-based learning programs to both close persistent talent gaps and create new pathways to economic opportunity for early-career workers. AFA’s goal is to elevate American apprenticeship utilization to the level of countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, each of which has developed a much more mature infrastructure for such programs.”

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Against a backdrop of persistent economic inequality laid bare by the pandemic, policy and business leaders alike are turning to new approaches that can build a more equitable, resilient economy,” said Noel Ginsburg, founder of the youth-apprenticeship nonprofit CareerWise and co-chair of U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. “21st-century, knowledge-economy apprenticeship is a double-bottom line initiative. It creates more opportunity for more young people, and at the same time, enables companies to compete on the global stage by creating these new, innovative talent pipelines.”AFA’s Advisory Council draws on decades of experience developing, implementing, and refining new approaches to education and training at the federal and state levels. It includes former senior officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, state workforce agency heads, and researchers, as well as employers and intermediary organizations with direct, practical experience implementing apprenticeship programs to support a new generation of workers.”Our experience working with major employers from tech to financial services has shown that apprenticeships can help solve some of the biggest challenges around access to talent, skills shortages, and workplace equity,” said Sophie Ruddock, VP and General Manager North America at Multiverse. “Apprenticeships for America is helping to realize that future by advancing apprenticeship policy and practice at a time when outstanding alternatives to higher education and training have never been more needed.”

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Members of Apprenticeships for America’s Advisory Council include:

  • Todd Berch, President, National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors (NASTAD)
  • Daniel Bustillo, Executive Director, H-CAP
  • Jennifer Carlson, Founder, Executive Director, Apprenti
  • Bridget Gainer, Global Head Policy & Public Affairs, AON
  • Noel Ginsburg, Founder & CEO, CareerWise USA
  • Debby Hopkins, Project Manager, Appteon
  • Scott Jensen, CEO & VP of External Affairs, Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL)
  • Yscaira Jimenez, Chief Innovation Officer, Opportunity@Work
  • Diane Jones, Retired, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Maurice Jones, CEO, OneTen
  • Mary Alice McCarthy, PhD, Senior Director, Center on Education & Labor, New America
  • Jane Oates, President, WorkingNation
  • Sophie Ruddock, VP, GM North America, Multiverse
  • Eric Seleznow, Senior Advisor, Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, Jobs For The Future
  • Michelle Skoor, Chief Workforce Officer, Bitwise
  • Katie Spiker, Managing Director of Government Affairs, National Skills Coalition
  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO, Futuro Health

“Scaling apprenticeship programs nationwide will take a collaborative effort that brings together researchers, policymakers, intermediaries, and employers,” said Ryan Craig, managing director at Achieve Partners and member of the governing board of Apprenticeships for America. “The diverse perspectives and experiences of the Advisory Council will play an invaluable role in our ongoing work to build a better national apprenticeship system — and, in turn, a stronger U.S. economy.”Apprenticeships for America is also proud to announce that Earl Buford, the President of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), has recently joined AFA’s Board of Directors. One of the nation’s leading voices in workforce development, Mr. Buford previously ran the Pittsburgh, PA and Milwaukee, WI workforce systems and served on then-Vice President Joe Biden’s Advisory Taskforce on Workforce Development.”At a time of ongoing turmoil in the labor market, the need for new approaches that bridge the gap to economic opportunity has never been more urgent,” said Buford. “Apprenticeships for America recognizes that registered apprenticeships have a critical part to play in building a more equitable world of work, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to join their team and help advance their mission.”

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