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AWARENESS GAP: State Aims to Increase Student Apprenticeships

October 14, 2018       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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As Michigan's economy continues to recover from the devastating job losses of the last recession, the state's labor exchange system is continually challenged to find talent with new and emerging skill sets, according to Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Talent and Economic Development Department.

There is a growing demand for more apprentices as more employers across become familiar with the apprenticeship training model and its direct value and available incentives.

There is a need for adults who can move quickly into journeyman status, with or without experiential and academic qualifications, as well as for a pipeline of youth to fill future jobs that will become vacant due to a retiring workforce, or new jobs that emerge through ever advancing technology. Those opportunities exist, not only in the traditional skilled trades but also in energy, healthcare, information technology and advanced manufacturing.

A new survey shows most Michigan high school students are not aware of a potential option after graduation, according to Michigan Radio.

A Michigan Talent Investment Agency survey found only 13% of high school students consider apprenticeships a good post-secondary career option.

Curtis says, even among students who were aware of apprenticeship programs, most only associated them with construction jobs.

Encouraging more Michigan students to consider skilled trades careers

Business and educational leaders agree that more needs to be done to encourage Michigan high school students to consider pursuing careers in skilled trades.

However, they disagree on one possible solution.

An Educational Development Plan (EDP) is a document school counselors develop showing a student's education and career goals, and a way to achieve them.

Lawmakers are discussing two bills that would require schools to provide students with more career information and help create a talent portfolio for every student.

Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with extensive on-the-job training under the supervision of journey-level craft person or trade professional.

Components of Registered Apprenticeship Training:

Business Involvement

Structured On-the-Job Training

Related Training and Instruction

Rewards for Skill Gains

National Occupational Credential

Apprenticeship USA State Expansion GrantPartnership grants are being used to bolster Registered Apprenticeship (RA) expansion in four ways:

1) through successful mobilization of sector strategies,

2) the expansion of existing state initiatives,

3) development and dissemination of resources and tools to assist in building state capacity, and

4) the implementation of a tiered incentive program to increase the number of employers establishing new RA in targeted industries. Michigan's Apprenticeship USA State Expansion Grants - Michigan ApprenticeshipUSA Industry Cluster Approach (MAICA) grant will assist potential employer sponsors and apprentices with effectively exploring, partnering, developing, registering, and launching RA.

Apprenticeship Success Coordinators (ASC) support activities and will function as an ASC to assist employers with local projects to effectively launch, register, conduct, report on, and ensure successful completion of new Registered Apprenticeships.

The Going PRO Talent Fund (Talent Fund), formerly known as the Skilled Trades Training Fund, makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training funded by the Talent Fund must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need to be experienced by the employer. Training must lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry.

MAT2 uses the German apprenticeship training program as a model. The program represents a collaboration between global industry leaders and Michigan educators to provide a competency-based training program that addresses manufacturers? needs for globally-competitive technicians in the areas of mechatronics and CNC. In 2015 Michigan became the first state in the United States to receive approval from the German Chamber of Commerce network for the alignment of its company consortium based apprenticeship mechatronics training program to German standards.

Through MAT2, students earn an associate's degree in a high-tech, in-demand field, with tuition costs paid by their employer. Trainees receive on-the-job training with pay; a school stipend; and are guaranteed a job upon successful completion of the program. The state provides $5,000 grants to offset employers' tuition costs. The program currently offers Mechatronics and CNC training programs.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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