The Work/Learn Collaborative, CPCC will host National Apprenticeship Week breakfast

last modified Nov 07, 2016 08:31 AM

The Work/Learn Collaborative (formerly the Talent Pipeline Partnership), including member Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), will host a Nov. 16, National Apprenticeship Week breakfast and panel discussion to inform and encourage local employers to consider apprenticeship programs.

Nov. 14-20, is the second annual National Apprenticeship Week, an initiative created by the U.S Department of Labor and President Obama in 2015. National Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity for colleges, companies, workers, students and economic development representatives to tell the story of apprenticeships. The week also is an invitation to business and industry, career seekers and community-based organizations to learn about the real-world advantages of developing careers and worker pipelines through the apprenticeship model.

The Nov. 16, National Apprenticeship Week breakfast will take place at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, 5301 Wilkinson Blvd., starting at 8 a.m. Representatives from companies such as Siemens, Drive, Inc., and Mecklenburg County will join a panel discussion moderated by Kathryn Castelloes, director of apprenticeships for the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Charlotte-area employers who have an interest in learning more about or launching an apprenticeship program are invited to attend. Registration is required; RSVP here.

The Work/Learn Collaborative connects employers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area with career seekers by providing work-based learning opportunities in high demand career pathways.  As a result, the group assists in closing the skills gap and advancing economic mobility within the community. Collaborative members include the Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Works, the City of Charlotte, CPCC, Goodwill, MeckEd and Mecklenburg County.

“Apprenticeships help people upgrade their skills and keep pace with the demands of today’s workforce,” explained Richard Zollinger, CPCC vice president for learning and workforce development. “Once individuals are equipped with the tools and resources they need to earn a paying job, they are able to secure a brighter future for themselves and their family, while contributing to the economy’s success.”

CPCC is home to an Apprenticeship Charlotte program and also partners with Apprenticeship 2000. Through the Apprenticeship 2000 program, which began in 1995, CPCC has graduated 150 apprentices, who went on to work for companies such as Ameritech, Blum, Chiron, Daetwyler, Pfaff and Siemens. Another 43 students currently are working as Apprenticeship 2000 apprentices.

In the newer Apprenticeship Charlotte program that CPCC launched in 2012, 59 students are working as apprentices and 18 are working as pre-apprentices for a number of companies, including Bosch Rexroth, CATS, Carolinas AGC, Cummins, groninger USA, Mecklenburg County, North Meck Plumbing, Piedmont Natural Gas and Siemens. Apprenticeship Charlotte had its first six apprentices graduate in the 2015-16 academic year.

“Studies show that workers who complete an on-the-job apprenticeship have more opportunity for career advancement, thus earning more than their starting peers who do not participate in an apprenticeship program,” said Mary Vickers-Koch, CPCC associate vice president for corporate and economic development. “Apprenticeships have significant benefits for the employer as well, including increased productivity, reduced waste and greater innovation.”

Last year, the U.S. had approximately 448,000 apprentices working with more than 150,000 employers. With this in mind, President Obama established a goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships within five years. The National Apprenticeship Week is one of several initiatives helping achieve that goal.