THE RESULTS ARE IN!
We have a lot to celebrate during this National Apprenticeship Week
ACDS Apprenticeship Director
EVER SINCE THE summer, we’ve been talking in this newsletter about momentum in the growth of Registered IT Apprenticeships in our state, and especially about the acceleration we expected as a result of the National Cybersecurity 120-Day Sprint that began in late July. Well, here we are in National
Apprenticeship Week 2022, and some very stellar results are in.
The state of Arkansas accomplished all five of our stated goals for the 120-Day Sprint:
- Nearly 1,300 new company representatives have become aware of Registered Apprenticeships;
- Nearly 1,000 more Arkansans have been made aware of internships and apprenticeship opportunities in IT, cybersecurity, and data analytics occupations;
- The number of projected apprenticeship starts in Arkansas jumped by 20 percent;
- Eleven new companies have committed to Registered Apprenticeship programs here in our state;
- The total number of apprentices in Arkansas now stands at nearly 500 and the total number of participating companies at 101—both metrics placing us at or near the top of states across the country.
During the month of October, five major technology events took place across the state, providing ACDS a chance to share the message of apprenticeships as a truly strategic model for talent acquisition, talent development, and talent retention. We didn’t let that opportunity go to waste! The results that we’re celebrating during this National Apprenticeship Week are proof that we’ve opened the door to a very diverse pool of Arkansans who’re now finding their way into the IT field.
EACH DAY OF National Apprenticeship Week carries a theme, starting with a focus on non-traditional pathways, followed by youth apprenticeships, women in technology, and apprenticeships for veterans. Our full calendar of events can be found on the acds.co landing page.
This Monday we celebrated the 120-Day Sprint and the Governor’s Proclamation. On Tuesday we teamed up with the Arkansas Data Science and Computing Ecosystem to put on an employer panel of company representatives describing their positive results with IT and Cyber apprenticeships. This effort is being led by the Arkansas Department of Education.
On Wednesday, we at ACDS announced our intent to create access for candidates from rural communities. As noted in Executive Director Bill Yoder’s Director’s Chair column this month, we recently announced the receipt of a new $1.4 million grant from the Department of Labor. Called WORC, for Work Force Opportunities in Rural Communities, this grant award was celebrated this week with employer events in Jefferson, Craighead, Jackson, Independence, and Mississippi counties. In collaboration with our economic development and training partners, ACDS presented details of our Pre-Apprenticeship training, Work-Based-Learning (WBL) internships, and Registered Apprenticeships to employers and job candidates in those geographic locations. Part of this new funding helps offset the wages of non-traditional candidates for the employer during a WBL internship, and the results of our initial programs show that participating companies hire their WBL interns into fulltime apprenticeship positions 82 percent of the time.
On Thursday, the focus for ACDS is on two areas that specifically highlight women in technology. The first is a panel event called “Women in Tech,” and the other is a two-year glimpse into the success of our USDOL Federal “Closing the Skills Gap” grant that we refer to as TITAN. That stands for “Transforming Information Technology Apprenticeships Now” and will describe the progress through year two and the plans for the remaining two years. The metrics are outstanding, and the plan is to acknowledge the success of partners like local workforce boards, training providers, and employers large and small who have implemented multiple programs.
Hopefully on Thursday as well, our state apprenticeship leader, the Office of Skills Development (OSD), will launch the premier of a video called “Why Apprenticeship,” highlighting the meaningful impact across the state and with some of the most admired companies in the world—Walmart, JB Hunt, and Peopleshores.
On Friday, we celebrate our veterans in apprenticeships with partners like Transitions Overwatch. Then we finish a tremendous week with events at JB Hunt and Walmart as they honor their apprentices who’re either completing their initial training or finishing their one-year apprenticeship.
Arkansas, we have much to be proud of!