National Apprenticeship Week 2021 focuses on equity in apprenticeships

By Jenny LescohierNovember 17, 2021

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week includes recognition of the efforts to encourage and increase apprenticeship opportunities for women and communities underrepresented in apprenticeship

The U.S. continues to face a skilled labor shortage that’s exacerbating the nation’s economic recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the U.S. Department of Labor is working to shine new light on the issue through observance of the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 15-21. 

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 will include career and trade fairs, open houses, conferences, roundtables and panel discussions with an emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in apprenticeship opportunities. Plans include more than 832 events and the issuance of 172 proclamations in 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

This year’s celebration also includes recognition of the efforts by the Biden-Harris administration and the department to encourage and increase apprenticeship opportunities for women and communities underrepresented in apprenticeship. President Biden has designated this week as National Apprenticeship Week with a proclamation that states:

“During National Apprenticeship week, we also commit to ensuring that people from populations that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent discrimination, poverty, and inequality have an opportunity to participate in the workforce,” said President Biden.

“In particular, given the historic underrepresentation of women in apprenticeship programs and the impact of the pandemic on women’s labor force participation there is even greater urgency to support women’s participation in Registered Apprenticeships.”

In keeping with its efforts to ensure the value of these earn-as-you-learn opportunities, the department has renewed its focus on the highest standards of Registered Apprenticeships and their success in providing pathways to well-paying careers and the ability to advance in them. During National Apprenticeship Week 2021, the department will highlight the many benefits of this approach to workforce development:

  • Monday, Nov. 15: Meeting Labor and Industry Needs through Registered Apprenticeship
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16: Pre-Apprenticeship and Youth Apprenticeship
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17: Federal Apprenticeship and Veterans in Apprenticeship
  • Thursday, Nov. 18: Women in Apprenticeship
  • Friday, Nov. 19: Expanding Registered Apprenticeship to Underserved Populations

In addition, Secretary Marty Walsh announced the establishment of an Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative to bring together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to serve as champions to expand, diversify and modernize Registered Apprenticeship. Ambassadors will partner with the department’s Office of Apprenticeship.

“Our Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative will build a national network of ambassadors to communicate the value of Registered Apprenticeships as a workforce strategy in high-demand industries such as cybersecurity, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and information technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Ambassadors will support our commitment to expand Registered Apprenticeship, including youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and develop more opportunities in our workforce that are inclusive of individuals who have been underserved historically.”

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