If you had asked someone back in October what they were looking forward to in November, what do you think they would have answered? Fall colors? Thanksgiving? Having an excuse not to shave?
If you had asked anyone from TAS, we would have said: National Apprenticeship Week and TAS’s official program launch.
On Thursday, November 17, 2016, our program held its official launch during the U.S.’s second-ever National Apprenticeship Week. Coupled with the excitement of our approval by the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council (MATC) as Maryland’s FIRST non-traditional apprenticeship program, the launch was an enormous success.
It was a privilege to welcome some of Maryland’s most innovative, enterprising and thoughtful minds to celebrate our kickoff. Among them, our speakers: Maryland Secretary of Labor Kelly Schulz, Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Lynne Gilli, Baltimore County Public Schools Coordinator of CTE Douglas Handy, Vice Provost and Dean of UMUC Dr. Matthew Prineas and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Administrator John Ladd.
National Apprenticeship Week is still in its infancy, but its rapid growth is exciting. When President Barack Obama first issued a proclamation marking the week of November 2, 2015 as the first National Apprenticeship Week in the United States, he cited half a million participants. The number has only since grown.
As Secretary Schulz said in her keynote address: “it’s not rocket science.”
Apprenticeship makes sense. To a lot of people.
At the start of National Apprenticeship Week, we posted on Facebook about the unique bipartisan support driving the apprenticeship movement. It received the most “shares” of any post we have had on the page at the time. People want a way forward, and they recognize apprenticeship as a viable option.
Apprenticeship’s viability in today’s political landscape is a big deal. There are so few programs that facilitate upward mobility that can get a Democrat and a Republican to cosign, but apprenticeship is one of them.
Look no further than our launch’s attendees. We had people of all political persuasions together in one room, getting excited about the same idea.
Apprenticeship’s bipartisan support is materializing into real action. Take the LEAP act, for example. Introduced by Senator Cory Booker, a progressive Democrat from New Jersey and Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) proposes a federal tax credit for employers. If passed, the LEAP act would be a symbol of not only progress, but cooperation.
Earlier in the week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), shared The Daily Record’s article on our program. For us, his post was more than an endorsement, it was a way to gauge the larger community’s reaction to our program. If you have been on Facebook at all the past few weeks, you might find this hard to believe, but: there was not a single negative comment.
The same excitement expressed by the speakers at our launch was mirrored in the excitement of the community. The response is telling. From employers seeking qualified, skilled individuals to politicians looking to solve un- and under-employment; career-changers looking for options to recent high school graduates looking to gain skills but not debt, apprenticeship is the answer.
Click here for photos from our official launch