Observance highlights apprenticeship programs

Jammie McCloud
Joe Barela

A proclamation declaring November Colorado Apprenticeship Month is designed to draw attention to programs that help employees hone skills while earning paychecks.

“Apprenticeships give people of all ages an opportunity to hone existing skills and gain new ones,” said Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

“As we prepare for today’s and tomorrow’s rapidly changing economy, the importance of upskilling and reskilling will only grow,” Barela said. “Apprenticeships will provide countless Coloradans with opportunities to remain competitive in a quickly evolving labor market that demands lifelong learning.”

Jamie McCloud, manager of the CareerWise program in Mesa County, said apprentices offer employers in a range of industries a cost-effective strategy for attracting and developing talent.

The CareerWise program matches high school students and businesses in three-year apprenticeships.

Students work 12 to 16 hours a week during their junior year and 16 to 24 hours a week during their senior year. Students work full-time during their third year or continue to  work part-time while attending college.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of apprentices grew from 375,000 in 2013 to 585,000 in 2018, a 56 percent increase over a five-year span.