Apprenticeships in Washington State reach record numbers
TUMWATER — The number of people involved in registered apprenticeship programs statewide has reached an all-time high.
Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were 21,710 apprentices in Washington state. The total would make registered apprenticeship programs the third largest “school” in the state behind only the University of Washington and Washington State University.
“Apprenticeship programs are thriving across the state,” said Jody Robbins, Apprenticeship Program manager for the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). “We’re encouraged to see a growing number of employers, educators, and other workforce partners get involved.”
“Employers need a reliable talent pipeline and workers need pathways into rewarding careers,” Robbins said. “Registered apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for employers and workers, boosting our entire economy.”
This week — Nov. 15-21 — is recognized as Registered Apprenticeship Week in Washington. The latest numbers from L&I show there are more than 5,000 employers in the state participating in 182 apprenticeship programs across nearly 250 occupations. For a complete list of programs and occupations, go to www.Lni.wa.gov/Apprenticeship.
Moving into high-tech fields
While construction trades such as carpenter, ironworker, and electrician remain at the top of the list for active participants, L&I is also making grants to industries and associations that expand programs to include high-tech, aerospace, and the medical assistant fields.
L&I recently announced a $1.3 million Aerospace Workforce Development Expansion Grant to the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee. The funding will expand apprenticeships, increase veterans outreach, and update equipment. It’s expected some 250 participants will be served over the course of the grant.
In a separate grant issued earlier this year, a total of $10 million will go to the Machinists Institute, established by the International Association of Machinists District 751 in Seattle.
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, representing engineers at The Boeing Company and other technical workers, will receive $5 million from the same grant. The programs will partner with community and technical colleges to expand training and help underserved populations enter the technical aerospace fields.
Apprenti, a program in partnership with L&I and the Washington Technology Industry Association, also diversifies participation in the high-tech industry through instruction in software development and other skills.
Registered Apprenticeship Week Events
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 15-20 as Registered Apprenticeship Week in Washington State. Among the events scheduled include:
2021 Women in Apprenticeship Day. The Practitioner’s Institute will host this Nov. 18 webinar titled, “Supporting Women to Success: Jobsite Culture in the Trades.” The 9-10:30 a.m. event is free but registration is required.
The Construction Center of Excellence will host a regional pre-apprenticeship collaboration meeting Nov. 19, from 8-10 a.m.
About L&I and apprenticeship
L&I supports the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council. The council authorizes new programs and enforces regulations to ensure training standards and participation goals are met.
L&I’s Apprenticeship Program provides consulting for businesses and training programs looking to start a registered apprenticeship. The web site also offers a complete list of apprenticeship programs and requirements.
Matthew Erlich, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6508