Build your workforce with an apprenticeship program


One effective way for manufacturers to develop skilled workers is through apprenticeship programs, which are again taking hold among manufacturers in the U.S. as they look for ways to address their workforce needs.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeship is an “earn and learn” training model that combines work-based learning with related classroom instruction using the highest industry standards. This approach formalizes work-based learning so workers know how to progress toward their career goals, and companies know who is on the path toward promotion into new positions or to replace retiring workers.

Apprenticeships may be registered or unregistered. Registered Apprenticeships are managed by the U.S. Department of Labor while unregistered apprenticeships are managed by companies in direct partnership with training centers, technical schools or community colleges with the goal of meeting their individual needs.

The Whatcom Business Alliance’s Youth Engagement Initiative leadership team is currently working with Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC) and Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) to bring Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Apprenticeships,  Pre-Apprenticeships and Youth Apprenticeships to Whatcom County.

“Today’s kids should be exposed to as many job environments and local employers as possible in order to increase the likelihood that kids will choose a career they love in an environment they will last. The Youth Engagement Initiative wants to connect local kids with local employers and help identify a career pathway.  If kids know basic skills for employment, are exposed to local jobs and learn how to identify the kind of careers they want through job shadowing, site visits, career fairs, internships and apprenticeship programs–everyone wins–the kids, the employers and the community.” – Maggie Stafford, YEI Program Manager

Sign up for the WBA Youth Engagement newsletter to stay in the know about youth apprenticeship opportunities. To learn more about the Youth Engagement initiative visit

To learn more about general apprenticeship programs, take a look at the Manufacturing Institute’s Employer’s Playbook for Building an Apprenticeship Program.