Celebrating National Apprentice Week and the Benefits to Our Workforce The U.S. Department of Labor announced the 6th Annual National Apprenticeship Week to run November 8th through 14th. This week-long celebration brings together business leaders, career seekers, labor, educational institutions, and other critical partners to demonstrate their support for apprenticeship. Apprenticeship sponsors are also given an opportunity to highlight the programs, facilities, and apprenticeships offered in their community. The renewed focus on apprenticeships as a career pathway is indeed cause for celebration. Apprenticeships are the very definition of win-win as they benefit employers, individuals, and the community. As employers face dwindling numbers of appropriately-skilled workers, they have the opportunity to create the workforce they need by connecting education with the modern workplace. Employees gained through these programs have a 94% retention rate. For individuals, apprenticeship programs allow them to enter the workforce, earn wages, and obtain specialized knowledge and training that provide a pathway to a long-term career with growth potential. On average, apprenticeship graduates have a beginning salary around $70,000 annually, and are able to earn as much as $300,000 more over the span of their career than non-apprentices. Ultimately, apprenticeship programs benefit communities by creating wage-earning opportunities and sustainable careers for the community members, and by helping businesses thrive. Building Skills and Expanding Opportunity In December 2019, Geographic Solutions created an apprenticeship program as a means to prepare local students for the future and build a pipeline of workers. The program rotated apprentices through three departments within the company, giving them well-rounded exposure to core areas of software development. “Investing in apprentices provides invaluable opportunities for those who are willing to learn,” said Geographic Solutions’ HR Training Coordinator, Jenna Silva. “We can recruit an apprentice and train them to suit roles that we will need filled in the future. Success is defined by placing the apprentices once the program has ended; if we only hire one apprentice post program, it is still a success.” Kyleigh Ross, one of the inaugural participants, praises the program because it gave her an opportunity to earn a livable wage while receiving hands-on training, establishing a work history, and making valuable industry connections. As Ross reflects on her time in the program, she had this to say about what she’s learned: “I have obtained two certifications: Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) and Microsoft Technology Associate SQL Fundamentals. I also learned how to test software; working within the Agile framework; how to write Agile Requirement Documents (ARD); and other aspects of development including how to move code.” Ross went on to say her experience completing the apprenticeship during a global pandemic was one of the most positive experiences she’s had. “All of my mentors at Geographic Solutions have gone above and beyond to ensure that I still got the most out of my experience.” Geographic Solutions looks forward to welcoming the next wave of apprentices, and we value the time spent with our inaugural participants. Curious about the opportunities we offer? Send an email to Human Resources . Integrating the Value of Apprenticeships into Virtual OneStop® Prior to the USDOL apprenticeship initiative, Geographic Solutions proactively developed an Apprenticeship Module to monitor and track Registered Apprenticeships (RA), Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP), and other programs that incorporate on-the-job training and instruction. The module, offered as part of Virtual OneStop, serves as a case management conduit between individuals, providers, and agency staff. A standalone or integrated module — this solution captures necessary data regarding programs and participants and compiles the data for federal reporting. Reports can ascertain the extent to which states' goals have been achieved, and identify areas for improvement. The module is currently in use in numerous states including Alabama, Maryland, Missouri, and more. For more information on Geographic Solutions’ Apprenticeship Module, contact us for a demo or quote .