The week of November 13-19, 2017 marked the third annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) highlighting the value of Registered Apprenticeship. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliff issued a proclamation naming November National Apprenticeship Month, citing the vital importance of the Registered Apprenticeship system to the Commonwealth. A series of National Apprenticeship Week events were held throughout the Shenandoah Valley, showcasing the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses, and the Virginia economy.

The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (SVWDB) and its partners have been spotlighted by the Department of Labor in recent years as leaders in the revitalized Registered Apprenticeship movement.  Through a $4 million American Apprenticeship Initiative grant received from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in October 2015, SVWDB developed the Valley to Virginia (V2V) Advanced Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeship Initiative, a five-year program focused on expanding manufacturing Registered Apprenticeships in the region.  The program has been highlighted by DOL as one of the success stories of the American Apprenticeship Initiative, having surpassed all its year-one program goals, going above and beyond to meet the needs of employers, and engaging veterans, individuals with disabilities, youth, and other underrepresented populations.

While apprenticeship programs have been around since the inception of the National Apprenticeship Act in 1937, apprenticeship opportunities have since expanded into over 1,000 career areas.  In Virginia, active apprenticeable occupations now include traditional trades as well as a wide diversity of fields such as computer programming, firefighting, graphic design, healthcare, truck driving, cosmetology, and cybersecurity.

Regional activities recognizing 2017 National Apprenticeship Week included: 

Information Sessions & Presentations. A presentation on “Registered Apprenticeships in the Shenandoah Valley,” was conducted twice during National Apprenticeship Week at the Staunton Workforce Center in Fishersville.

The Winchester Chamber of Commerce hosted a registered apprenticeship presentation for its members and guests featuring speaker Debby Hopkins from the SVWDB.

Career and Technical Studies Directors from the Blue Ridge Community College region gave a Registered Apprenticeship presentation.

Employer/Student Meet & Greets and Luncheons.  Enrollees in the Lord Fairfax Community College Manufacturing Technology 1 (MT1) course had the opportunity to meet a dozen apprenticeship-supportive employers at a “speed dating” style event. Employers also were provided with a presentation by SVWDB’s Debby Hopkins about the value of apprenticeship.  MT1 coursework taken as part of the Fast Track Career Training Program is part of nationally-recognized training towards a Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship.

An Employer Appreciation Luncheon was held at Massanutten Technical Center recognizing employers who participate in the apprenticeship program and providing a presentation on pre-apprenticeship opportunities for students.

An Employer Appreciation & Graduate Recognition Breakfast was held at Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center to thank employers for their support of apprenticeship programs and to recognize Manufacturing Technology Training (MTT) Program graduates.

Apprentices and Employers Honored During National Apprenticeship Week

Media Coverage of National Apprenticeship Week

Employer Appreciation Luncheon. Valley Career and Technical Center held a luncheon honoring apprentices and employers that support apprenticeship. Featured speaker was Faith Clayton, Apprenticeship Consultant for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. An information session on Registered Apprenticeship for interested high school students and adults preceded the luncheon.

Individuals Awarded Certificates, Bonuses for Completing Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship Completions. ThermoFisher Scientific in Middletown, celebrated their first seven completers of the Industrial Manufacturing Technician Registered Apprenticeship Program. The apprentices, who are now Journeymen, were presented with certificates and $100 gift card bonuses. The Manufacturing Technician 1 certification program is an 18-month apprenticeship which includes 216 hours of instruction provided by Lord Fairfax Community College. Marco Pineda, Apprenticeship Consultant and Supervisor for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, SVWDB’s Debby Hopkins, and LFCC’s Sherry Pinto were on hand to help with the festivities.

Apprentice Signings. Ball Advanced Aluminum Corporation registered three new maintenance mechanics on November 14 as part of National Apprenticeship Week. 

A Workforce System Webinar was held November 16 providing Virginia local workforce development boards the opportunity to learn how to include Registered Apprenticeship sponsors on the state Eligible Training Provider List. 

To learn more about Registered Apprenticeship, contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Division of Registered Apprenticeship (www.doli.virginia.gov); to learn more about grant funding available to support Registered Apprenticeship or Pre-Apprenticeship programs in the Shenandoah Valley, contact Debby Hopkins at dhopkins@valleyworkforce.com.; www.valleyworkforce.com; 540.442.7134.                                                                           

Return to Blog Listing