Apprenticeships Gaining Steam as a Strong Pathway for Talent

Professional apprenticeship programs are growing, both in the Bay Area and nationwide, and are proving to be a valuable way to strengthen local talent pipelines and provide opportunities to recruit diverse talent.  Trades have used apprentice programs for more than a century, and now corporate America is getting into the act. By combining on-the-job training with supplementary education to prepare workers for jobs in emerging fields, apprenticeships help align the needs of employers with the qualifications of job seekers, while laying a foundation for preparing and reskilling workers whose current jobs have been — or will be — disrupted by technology. Bay Area Council member Accenture and Aon have grown substantial apprentice programs, and they are now working with the Workforce of the Future Committee to bring their best practices and lessons learned to the Bay Area—seeing an opportunity to connect with other employers in the region who are interested in expanding existing apprenticeship programs or growing new ones from the ground up.

Launched in 2016 in Chicago and San Antonio, Accenture’s apprentice program is now in 10 cities and will have 450 apprentices by year’s end. Accenture believes that apprenticeship programs, particularly at the local level, are critical to igniting a spark of interest in technology fields, ultimately building a pipeline to help address the skills gap in the U.S. and untapping the potential of millions. Accenture’s apprenticeships are structured as earn-and-learn programs to help them develop proficiency in targeted technology areas. All of Accenture’s apprentices have the potential to take on a full-time role with Accenture at the completion of their program.  As a result of the growth and success of their respective apprenticeship programs, Accenture and Aon partnered in 2017 to build the Chicago Apprentice Network (CAN), which now consists of 25 employers and has provided over 430 apprenticeship opportunities in Chicago, with a commitment to create 1,000 apprentice opportunities by 2020. By rallying employers to invest in apprenticeships, and joining together to publish a playbook to bring national awareness to best practices, Accenture and Aon believe the private sector, working with community leaders, can unleash the untapped potential of millions and better equip businesses to compete in an age of dynamic change. 

The Council is excited to move this work forward, growing both opportunities for local, diverse talent in the region, and strengthening employer’s access to talent. For more information on the Workforce of the Future Committee, contact Senior Vice President Public Policy, Linda Bidrossian.

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