Oakland County launches Advantage: Apprenticeships Funding program to help local employers attract talent

Oakland County Michigan Works! is launching a program to encourage companies in a variety of industries to pursue registered apprenticeships, by providing them with funding to help offset apprentice tuition, on-the-job wages and other related costs.

Advantage: Apprenticeships, funded by a $625,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, is being introduced as part of Oakland County’s celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 15-21. Oakland County Michigan Works! is hosting a virtual workshop for employers on Tuesday, November 16, to share details on the funding program, benefits of apprenticeship programs and how to build them, and the advantages of hiring U.S. veterans as apprentices.

“There is no better time to launch a registered apprenticeship program than now, as we emerge from the COVID pandemic and so many people are considering new career paths,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “Our goal is to help employers launch apprenticeships that can help them fill vacancies and provide the skills for our workforce needs to succeed.”

Coulter added the apprenticeship program complements the Oakland80 initiative, Oakland County’s goal to have 80 percent of eligible county residents obtaining a credential or advanced degree by 2030.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 94 percent of apprentices who complete the program retain employment, with an average annual salary of $70,000. This flexible training model can be customized to meet the needs of businesses across multiple industries, including:

Advanced Manufacturing
Financial Services
Information TechnologyTransportation

In addition to reduced turnover and retaining top talent, Oakland County Workforce Development Manager Jennifer Llewellyn said registered apprenticeships improve a company’s productivity, profitability and an organization’s bottom line as well as providing training and good paying jobs for employees.

“Employers looking for a competitive edge, an advantage over their competitors that pays dividends today and well into the future, should consider launching a registered apprenticeship program,” she said. “This builds loyalty by providing the apprentice with a viable, rewarding career path.”

Llewellyn said there are five key components to every registered apprenticeship program:

• A job with a competitive wage to enable apprentices to earn and learn
• Work-Based Learning featuring structured on-the-job training and instruction
• Mentorship providing internal, one-on-one support to apprentices by seasoned professionals
• Classroom Learning that often provides college credit and is administered by a community college or other training provider
• Nationally Recognized Credentials earned by apprentices upon program completion that can be used during their careers

The virtual workshop on November 16 will feature speakers from the U.S. Department of Labor, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, state and county veterans services representative and Oakland County Michigan Works!, highlighting why those who served the country and now want to build civilian careers are ideal apprentice candidates.

“Veterans make strong apprentices because they bring existing skills sets and a work ethic to the job and what they may not know, they are eager to learn,” said Garth Wootten, division manager, Oakland County Veterans’ Services. “During the workshop, we’ll discuss how companies can build apprenticeship programs that enable veterans to use their earned benefits.”

Employers must register to participate in the virtual workshop. This can be done online at https://tinyurl.com/2em4ymth. After registering, each participant will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Oakland County Michigan Works! operates service centers in Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy, and Waterford, where they assist more than 105,000 job seekers annually. Services include career coaching, interviewing and job search workshops, placement assistance, training courses and job trend information.

The service centers also assist more than 3,000 employers seeking help with talent recruitment, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, candidate pre-screening, hiring and training support, layoff support and labor market data.

Service center staffs remain available by virtual appointment to work one-on-one with job seekers to build their resumes, prepare for job interviews and help address other needs. To schedule a virtual meeting, call 1-248-858-5520 and select the nearest office. The service centers are hosting several virtual workshops for job seekers. A schedule can be found at OaklandCountyMIWorks.com.



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